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Title:Market Assessment of Discretionary vs. Nondiscretionary Irregular Items
Author(s):Harbecke, Paula Ann
Department / Program:Accountancy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Business Administration, Accounting
Abstract:The objective of this dissertation was to evaluate if the discretionary character of irregular items imparts information to investors. Justification was centered on the belief that more should be known about which irregular items affect investors' buy/sell market decisions. This is in response to the FASB's desire to identify the characteristics of financial data which should be used to distinguish the irregular components of income warranting separate disclosure.
Irregular items which currently require separate disclosure were classified according to management's relative control over their reporting. The following three types were distinguished: (1) Real Discretionary Irregular Items. (RDs)--discretionary external transactions. Management is able to exercise judgment concerning the originating event but cannot control disclosure of its occurrence to the public. (2) Artificial Discretionary Irregular Items (ADs)--discretionary internal adjustments. Management cannot control the originating event, but is able to exercise judgment concerning disclosure of its occurrence to the public. (3) Nondiscretionary Irregular Items (NDs)--induced by some agent exogenous to the firm. Management controls neither the originating event nor disclosure of its occurrence to the public.
Conditional on the assumption of market efficiency, the approach taken was to determine the types of irregular items associated with security return adjustments. The empirical evidence presented uniformly supports the conclusion that AD disclosures are events signaling adverse economic consequences. Not only was the average return experienced by the sample of firms disclosing ADs in excess (in a negative sense) of that expected based on their normal risk/return relationship with the market, but ADs were also found to be: (1) more material, (2) associated with more risk increases (i.e., (beta)-shifts), and (3) associated with a more sizeable market disturbance than were any of the other irregular item groups. This negative reception could be the market's way of passing judgment on management's apparent attempt to control net income, or could reflect investor reaction to the "hidden" effects of those previously considered cosmetic disclosures.
In light of these findings, the FASB should consider highlighting the discretionary nature of irregular items--a characteristic demonstrated to affect the market's interpretation of accounting signals.
Issue Date:1983
Description:273 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8409945
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983

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