Korea Productivity Association


생산성논집, Vol.31 no.4 (2017)

최고경영자의 경영재량권과 목표이익 달성을 위한 이익조정


(울산대학교 경영대학 회계학과)


(울산대학교 경영대학 회계학과)

This study examines the relation between CEO centrality and earnings management to avoid losses and earnings decreases in Korea. Agency theory suggests that CEO centrality exacerbates agency problem as powerful CEOs tend to be overconfident and choose risky corporate strategies. On the other hands, Stewardship theory asserts that CEO centrality may be ideal for firm value and performance because of the unity of leadership and control it presents. While those two views are predicting contradictory impact of CEO power concentration on earnings management, empirical research examining the association between CEO centrality and earnings management in Korea does not exist, to our knowledge. As such, this study is the first that provides Korean evidence on the relationship between CEO centrality and earnings management. To achieve the afore-mentioned research objective, we examine whether the earnings management to losses and earnings decreases is systematically related with the proxy of CEO centrality using a ordinary logistic regression model and two stage least squares model (2SLS). Proxy for CEO centrality is developed using CEO pay slice suggested by Bebchuk et al.(2011). In particular, the CEO pay slice (CPS) calculated as a ratio of total CEO compensation to the total compensation of all directors in the board, captures the relative importance of CEO within the management team. To identify earnings management to losses and earings decreases, we classify suspected firms that show small positive earnings or small earnings increases according to Burgstahler and Dichev(1997). Our sample is drawn from companies listed on the KRX for which the information of executive compensation is available. Up to 2012, information of individual executive compensation was not mandatory disclosure item in annual reports, but from 2013 Korean listed firms should be required to disclose their executives’ pay information in annual reports if total compensation of an individual executives is more than 500 million won a year, following recent revisions to the capital market act. Thus our sample period covers 3 years from 2013-2015 and the final sample includes 927 firm-years from both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries. We find a positive and significant relationship between CEO centrality and earnings management to avoid losses but not earnings decreases. This finds is robust to additional test(2SLS). These results indicate that CEO centrality restricts capabilities for monitoring and checking on inefficient managerial decision, which will lead to increased propensity to earnings management, thereby can pass on the economic cost to the outside investors. The contribution of this study is as follows. First, this study provides the first comprehensive Korean evidence of how CEO centrality is related to earnings management. Second, we incorporate recent innovations in measuring corporate governance system into our research design by using CEO pay slice as an empirical proxy of CEO centrality. Third, the results documented in this paper provide significant policy implications regarding the future directions on the regulatory measures to be implemented with the regard to the corporate governance system in the Korean capital market. The evidence obtained herein suggests the need for more rigid screening schemes to control earnings management in a situation when powerful CEO can influence over the board and also for adequate measures to be taken to ensure that the interests of the outside investors are properly protected from dominant CEO’s arbitrariness.

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