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Title: The impact of ownership structure and external audit on accruals and real activities earnings management in Jordan
Author: Idris, Mohammed Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 1232
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2012
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Agency theory predicts that ownership structure monitoring mechanisms can effectively align the interests of managers with those of the shareholders. In additions, it views external audit as a function that lends credibility to the information disclosed in financial reports. Prior research sustains these predictions in developed markets such as in the US. However, institutional settings such as ownership structure and regulatory oversight bodies differ around the world and accordingly, the sustainability of agency theory predictions might also differ. Further, little research differentiates between accruals and real activities earnings management in contexts such as the Jordanian where ownership is concentrated, investors’ protection is weak and capital market is still evolving. Therefore, this study addresses these issues and investigates the validity of agency theory predictions concerning the effectiveness of ownership structure and external audit monitoring mechanisms in mitigating both accruals and real activities earnings management in Jordan. In this study, four measures of earnings management are estimated through the models of Kothari et al. (2005) and Roychowdhury (2006). Magnitudes of abnormal accruals are obtained from the former model and magnitudes of abnormal cash flow from operating activities, abnormal production costs and abnormal discretionary expenses are obtained from the latter model. As a result, four empirical models are constructed in which the estimated earnings management measures represent the dependent variables. Independent variables in each empirical model are the same and are classified into three categories: first, ownership structure variables include ownership concentration, controlling shareholders, institutional ownership and foreign ownership. The second category includes external audit quality measured by auditor size. Third, a set of control variables include board size, leverage, growth and firm size. These models are tested using the population of all manufacturing firms listed on Amman Stock Exchange over the period 2005 – 2008. The results reveal that controlling shareholders appear effective in constraining accruals manipulations, sales manipulations and production costs manipulations. As for manipulations in discretionary expenses, the results show that only high levels of institutional ownership can effectively deter abnormal discretionary expenses. Moreover, contrary to the popular convention, the results suggest that non-big 5 auditors in Jordan who in fact mitigate abnormal accruals not big 5 auditors. Finally, no evidence is found supportive of the substitutive effect. That is, firms that are prevented from managing their earnings through accruals due to the enhanced scrutiny of non-big 5 auditors, do not resort to sales manipulations, production costs manipulations or discretionary expenses manipulations as substitutes to achieve desired levels of reported earnings. Given these findings, the present study provides understanding and extension for agency theory literature that focuses on earnings management in general and in emerging markets in particular. It highlights challenges to applicability of agency theory in emerging markets where corporate governance mechanisms are supposed to mitigate the practice of earnings management. As such, these findings could be helpful to investors and other stakeholders in making rational contractual decisions, especially when such decisions involve non-owner-controlled firms. Finally, Amman Stock Exchange could impose the corporate governance codes that actively promote internal corporate governance mechanisms to restrain accruals and real activities earnings management.
Supervisor: Aly, Doaa ; Hussainey, Khaled ; Jones, Tracy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce ; HF5601 Accounting ; HG Finance