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Institutional incentives and earnings quality: The influence of government ownership in China

Xiang Liu, Reza Saidi and Mohammad Bazaz

Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, 2014, vol. 10, issue 3, 248-261

Abstract: We examine the effect of government ownership and its associated institutional incentives on firms’ earnings quality using a sample of Chinese firms during the transitional economy between 1998 and 2005 when state-owned and non-state-owned firms were traded in the stock exchanges. We find that, in China, state-owned firms exhibit a lower earnings quality property than non-state-owned firms. Particularly, state-owned firms have more earnings smoothing, more frequently managed earnings toward target, less frequent timely recognition of losses, and less value relevance, relative to non-state-owned firms. We also find that state-owned firms have significantly higher discretionary current accruals than non-state-owned firms. We conclude that the Chinese government, through its controlling ownership of state-owned firms, creates incentives and regulatory backing for self-serving purposes that negatively influence these listed firms’ financial reporting.

Keywords: Earnings quality; Government ownership; China; State-owned firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics is currently edited by Agnes C.S. Cheng, P. Clarkson, F.A. Gul, Zoltan Matolcsy, Dan Simunic and Ben Srinidhi

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