Theses Doctoral

Earnings Manipulation and Asset Substitution: Real Effects of Financial Reporting Scrutiny on Debt Contracting

Han, Dong Joon

This paper studies the impact of financial reporting scrutiny on (private) debt contracting in the presence of two capital market frictions: a cash-diversion problem and an asset-substitution problem. When cash flow realizations are not verifiable, firms have an incentive to divert cash by manipulating their accounting reports. When firms' project choices are not verifiable, post financing, they may have an incentive to choose riskier projects than desired by their financiers. While earlier work has mostly examined these two frictions independently, they are intricately linked: to address the cash-diversion problem, an optimal contract resembles a debt contract, which in turn causes the asset-substitution problem. Holding the scrutiny of financial reporting fixed, I show that the emergence of the asset-substitution problem, instead of compounding the existing inefficiencies from the cash-diversion problem, may lead to improved investment efficiency and more socially efficient risk-taking. On the other hand, increased reporting scrutiny may undermine investment efficiency (i.e., decrease banks' lending) and adversely affect firms' risk shifting from a social welfare perspective.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Baldenius, Tim
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 13, 2016