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Mechanisms to Meet/Beat Analyst Earnings Expectations in the Pre- and Post-Sarbanes-Oxley Eras

Authors: Bartov, Eli
Cohen, Daniel A.
Issue Date: May-2007
Series/Report no.: Eli Bartov-08
Abstract: This paper asks two questions. First, has the prevalence of expectations management to meet/beat analyst expectations changed in the aftermath of the 2001-2002 accounting scandals and the passage of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)? Second, has the mix among the three mechanisms used for meeting earnings targets: accrual earnings management, real earnings management, and earnings expectations management shifted in the Post-SOX Period? We document that the propensity to meet/beat analyst expectations has declined significantly in the Post-SOX Period. Our primary findings explain this pattern. In particular, we find a decline in the use of expectations management and accrual management, and no change in real earnings management in the Post-SOX Period relative to the preceding seven-year period. Our results are robust to controlling for varying macro economic conditions. These findings contribute to the academic literature, investors, and regulators.
Appears in Collections:Accounting Working Papers

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