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The Impact of CEO Narcissism on Earnings Management

Francesco Capalbo, Alex Frino, Ming Ying Lim, Vito Mollica and Riccardo Palumbo

Abacus, 2018, vol. 54, issue 2, 210-226

Abstract: We provide the first empirical test of the relation between CEO narcissism and earnings manipulation. We test the hypothesis that narcissistic leaders over†identify themselves with the organizations they lead and expend considerable effort to achieve their goals, including by engaging in unethical behaviour. Earnings announcements are highly anticipated information releases by organizations. They are a key performance indicator used to evaluate the performance of CEOs. This study examines the use of first person singular pronouns by CEOs in response to questions at analyst conferences to measure narcissism. We provide evidence that firms with narcissistic CEOs engage in accruals management to manage earnings positively, highlighting the important effect of CEO personality on accounting choices.

Date: 2018
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