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Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

While it is generally maintained that earnings management can occur to inform as well as to mislead, evidence that earnings management informs has been scarce, and evidence that credibility increases with signal costliness inexistent. We provide evidence that firms use discretion over financial reporting and real activities to report higher earnings on lower sales from continuing operations. Although these firms defy gravity artificially, we show that the upwards earnings management informs rather than misleads investors. We find that firms that defy gravity (1) report higher future earnings and cash flows, (2) earn higher one-year-ahead abnormal returns, (3) have a positive market reaction to the defying gravity earnings announcement, and (4) their CEOs are more likely to be net buyers in the year preceding the defying gravity event. We also show that the upwards earnings management signal is more credible when it is more costly to achieve: Defying gravity firms perform better when they bear the opportunity loss of not taking a big bath in times of crisis — years where poorer performance can be blamed on economy-wide shocks, and when they have fewer degrees of freedom to report higher earnings.

Mots clés : Earnings Management, Signaling, Informativeness, Opportunism, Credibility


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

While it is generally maintained that earnings management can occur to inform as well as to mislead, evidence that earnings management informs has been scarce, and evidence that credibility increases with signal costliness inexistent. We provide evidence that firms use discretion over financial reporting and real activities to report higher earnings on lower sales from continuing operations. Although these firms defy gravity artificially, we show that the upwards earnings management informs rather than misleads investors. We find that firms that defy gravity (1) report higher future earnings and cash flows, (2) earn higher one-year-ahead abnormal returns, (3) have a positive market reaction to the defying gravity earnings announcement, and (4) their CEOs are more likely to be net buyers in the year preceding the defying gravity event. We also show that the upwards earnings management signal is more credible when it is more costly to achieve: Defying gravity firms perform better when they bear the opportunity loss of not taking a big bath in times of crisis — years where poorer performance can be blamed on economy-wide shocks, and when they have fewer degrees of freedom to report higher earnings.


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

L’Investissement Socialement Responsable (ISR) en France reste peu développé pour les investisseurs particuliers, en dépit d’une croissance forte des fonds ISR et du lancement de labels à leur intention. L’objectif de cet article est de mieux comprendre le rôle limité des labels. Notre analyse s’appuie sur l’interaction entre trois éléments: label et asymétrie d’information, choix des attributs informationnels des labels et objectifs des organismes porteurs de labellisation, concurrence induite entre labels. Deux facteurs expliquent l’impact limité des labels. D’une part, les attributs informationnels mis en évidence par les labels reflètent plus le point de vue des sociétés de gestion que celui des investisseurs particuliers. D’autre part, la distribution de l’ISR auprès des particuliers passe majoritairement par les réseaux des banques et assurances, réseaux pour lesquels il ne constitue pas un véritable axe de différenciation concurrentielle.
The attractiveness of SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) for retail investors in France has remained limited in spite of the launch of labeling schemes and a substantial growth of SRI funds. The article analyzes why the labeling impact has been limited. Our framework is based on the interaction of three elements: labels and information asymmetry, the labeling organizations and the selection of information attributes, the induced competition between labels. Two main factors explain the limited impact of labels. First, the information attributes disclosed by the labels reflect the viewpoint of asset managers rather than the one of retail investors. Second, the distribution of SRI by banking and insurance networks is not a factor of competitive advantage.


Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

L’Investissement Socialement Responsable (ISR) en France reste peu développé pour les investisseurs particuliers, en dépit d’une croissance forte des fonds ISR et du lancement de labels à leur intention. L’objectif de cet article est de mieux comprendre le rôle limité des labels. Notre analyse s’appuie sur l’interaction entre trois éléments: label et asymétrie d’information, choix des attributs informationnels des labels et objectifs des organismes porteurs de labellisation, concurrence induite entre labels. Deux facteurs expliquent l’impact limité des labels. D’une part, les attributs informationnels mis en évidence par les labels reflètent plus le point de vue des sociétés de gestion que celui des investisseurs particuliers. D’autre part, la distribution de l’ISR auprès des particuliers passe majoritairement par les réseaux des banques et assurances, réseaux pour lesquels il ne constitue pas un véritable axe de différenciation concurrentielle.

Mots clés : Investissement Socialement Responsable (ISR), Investisseurs particuliers, Labels, Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), Retail Investors, Labels


Département Economie - Sciences de la Décision

We analyze a toy class of two-player repeated games with two-sided incomplete information. In effect, two players are facing independent decision problems and each of them holds information that is potentially valuable to the other player. We study to what extent, and how, information can be exchanged at equilibrium. We show that, provided one’s initial information is valuable to the other player, equilibria exist at which an arbitrary amount of information is exchanged at an arbitrary high rate. The construction relies on an indefinite, reciprocated, exchange.


Département Economie - Sciences de la Décision

We study a class of symmetric strategic experimentation games. Each of two players faces a (exponential) two-armed bandit problem, and must decide when to stop experimenting with the risky arm. The equilibrium amount of experimentation depends on the degree to which experimentation outcomes are observed, and on the correlation between the two individual bandit problems. When experimentation outcomes are public, the game is basically one of strategic complementarities. When experimentation decisions are public, but outcomes are private, the strategic interaction is more complex. We fully characterize the equilibrium behavior in both informational setups, leading to a clear comparison between the two. In particular, equilibrium payoffs are higher when equilibrium outcomes are public.


Département Economie - Sciences de la Décision

We study a two-player, zero-sum, stochastic game with incomplete information on one side in which the players are allowed to play more and more frequently. The informed player observes the realization of a Markov chain on which the payoffs depend, while the non-informed player only observes his opponent's actions. We show the existence of a limit value as the time span between two consecutive stages vanishes; this value is characterized through an auxiliary optimization problem and as the solution of an Hamilton-Jacobi equation.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

This paper explores conflicting implications of firm-specific human capital (FSHC) for firm performance. Existing theory predicts a productivity effect that can be enhanced with strong incentives. We propose an offsetting agency effect: FSHC may facilitate more sophisticated “gaming” of incentives, to the detriment of firm performance. Using a unique dataset from a multiunit retail bank, we document both effects and estimate their net impact. Managers with superior FSHC are more productive in selling loans but are also more likely to manipulate loan terms to increase incentive payouts. We find that resulting profits are two percentage points lower for high-FSHC managers. Finally, profit losses increase more rapidly for high-FSHC managers, indicating adverse learning. Our results suggest that FSHC can create agency costs that outweigh its productive benefits.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

How do we, as management researchers, develop novel theoretical contributions, and potentially break new ground, in management studies? To address this question, we review previous methodological work on theorizing and advance a typology of the reasoning processes that underlie theoretical contributions and significant advances in management studies. This typology consist of various types of analogical and counterfactual reasoning that range from focused thought experiments aimed at prodding existing theory in the direction of alternative assumptions, constructs and hypotheses to more expansive efforts around inducing new theoretical models and alternative explanations. With this typology we detail the mechanisms behind the formation of novel theoretical contributions and we illustrate the currency of our typology with a review of twenty-four major theoretical breakthroughs in management studies. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the implications of this typology for our collective efforts in building, elaborating and expanding theory in management studies.


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