The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between earnings management and the efficiency of French firms’ investments. It also investigates the moderating effect of…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between earnings management and the efficiency of French firms’ investments. It also investigates the moderating effect of board of directors’ features on this relation.
This study is based on a sample of French listed companies from 2011 to 2015, i.e. 435 firm-year observations. The authors use the instrumental variable method based on 2SLS models.
The authors show that there is a negative relationship between earnings management and investment efficiency. This finding supports the theoretical perspective of the agency theory, as the propensity of firms to engage in earnings management practices is associated with high managerial opportunistic behavior and asymmetric information issues, leading to the problem of under and overinvestment. The findings also show that board size, independence and gender diversity are positively associated with investment efficiency. These board features moderate the relationship between earnings management and investment efficiency suggesting that earnings quality plays a more prominent role in guiding managers to choose the right investments when the corporate governance environment is strong.
The negative relationship between earnings management and investment efficiency suggests that firms with lower earnings quality are exposed to high information asymmetries. They are then more likely to deviate from their expected level of investments. In addition, the results highlight the importance of corporate financial transparency and board monitoring to reduce agency costs and ensure the efficiency of corporate investments, particularly in a setting where investors’ interests are poorly protected.
This paper is the first to the best of the authors’ knowledge to examine the effect of earnings management, a metric for earnings quality, on the corporate investment efficiency in France. Besides, they extend previous literature by investigating how board features are able to monitor managerial actions and decisions and therefore to moderate the effect of earnings management on investment efficiency.