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Information asymmetry of fair value accounting during the financial crisis

Lin Liao, Helen Kang, Richard D. Morris and Qingliang Tang

Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, 2013, vol. 9, issue 2, 221-236

Abstract: We examine whether US banks’ fair value net assets, measured according to the three-level hierarchy introduced in SFAS 157, are associated with information asymmetry during the 2008 financial crisis. Our results show that bid–ask spread, a proxy for information asymmetry, is positively associated with fair value net assets, and the degree of association is contingent upon the three-level hierarchy, with bid–ask spreads being lowest for Level 1 (the most transparent valuation inputs) and highest for Level 3 (the least observable). Also, there is some evidence that SFAS 157 led to a reduction in bid–ask spread, and we find that quarterly changes in Level 1 and Level 2 fair value net assets are significantly associated with changes in bid–ask spread in 2008 when the spread was rapidly rising, but not in 2009 when it was falling. Our findings suggest that the three-level hierarchy under SFAS 157 provides investors with useful information, and fair value is associated with uncertainty, as measured by bid–ask spread, before and during the financial crisis.

Keywords: Fair value accounting; Information asymmetry; Financial crisis; Bid–ask spread (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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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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