Analyst Coverage and Earnings Management Using Classification Shifting

Fang Zhao


This study examines the association between analyst coverage and classification shifting. Prior studies on external monitoring factors and classification shifting provide mixed results: international studies (Haw, Ho, & Li, 2011; Behn, Gotti, Herrmann, & Kang, 2013) find that external monitoring factors mitigate classification shifting, while Abernathy, Beyer, and Rapley (2014) find that external monitoring factors promote classification shifting when accrual-based earnings management and real earnings management are constrained. Using a sample of firms in the United States, this study finds a positive association between classification shifting and an external monitoring factor: analyst coverage. This result suggests that when higher analyst coverage has stronger monitoring role on earnings management, managers are more likely to use classification shifting. The implication of this study should be of interest to financial analysts.

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Accounting and Finance Research
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