The Contractual and Value Relevances of Reported Earning in an Unregulated Information Market: The Case of Switzerland

  • Cahiers de recherche; 1998.19
Publication date1998

Earnings reported by North American firms are conditioned by specific contextual factors that enhance their contractual and value relevances: regulatory oversight by securities commissions, relatively strict accounting and auditing standards, an extensive financial analysis industry and active investors. Such an environment is bound to influence the relevance of accounting information. However, there is still only scarce evidence about the relevance of earnings information in a context where it is unregulated and unconstrainend. This study focuses on Switzerland since its information market with respect to earnings is almost free of constraints. From a contractual perspective, dividend-based earning management by managers is expected since Swiss corporate law explicitly states that dividends, which must be voted on by stockholders, are to be based upon a firm's reported earning. From a value perspective, thin trading conditions, a long term investment horizon are expected to increase the importance of dividend payments and to reduce the informativeness of reported earnings. Moreover, an unregulated information market allows for an more direct evaluation of the value added by earnings quality signals. Results indicate that Swiss managers do engage in dividend-based earnings management, that earnings quality signals are used to voluntarily constrain managers' choices and that the value relevance of earnings is conditional upon dividend payments

Citation (ISO format)
CORMIER, Denis, MAGNAN, Michel, MORARD, Bernard. The Contractual and Value Relevances of Reported Earning in an Unregulated Information Market: The Case of Switzerland. 1998
  • PID : unige:5889

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