Regulations, Institutions and Income Smoothing by Managing Technical Reserves: International Evidence from the Insurance Industry
Omega, The International Journal of Management Science,
This paper investigates the role of technical reserves in the income smoothing behavior of insurance companies. This is one of the first attempts in the literature to trace such relationship in the insurance industry, especially at a multi-country setting. The experience of 770 insurance firms operating in 87 countries over the period 2000–2009 reveals that there is a significant evidence of income smoothing. The paper also finds that institutional characteristics, e.g., the rule of law, common law legal origin, economic freedom, and regulations relating to technical provisions and supervisory power constrain income smoothing but other factors such as capital requirements, tax deductibility of provisions, auditing, and corporate governance do not have a significant effect.
Abnormal Real Operations, Real Earnings Management, and Subsequent Crashes in Stock Prices
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting,
We study the impact of firms’ abnormal business operations on their future crash risk in stock prices. Computed based on real earnings management (REM) models, firms’ deviation in real operations (DROs) from industry norms is shown to be positively associated with their future crash risk. This association is incremental to that between discretionary accruals (DAs) and crash risk found by prior studies. Moreover, after Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, DRO’s predictive power for crash risk strengthens substantially, while DA’s predictive power essentially dissipates. These results are consistent with the prior finding that managers shift from accrual earnings management to REM after SOX. We further develop a suspect-firm approach to capture firms’ use of DRO for REM purposes. This analysis shows that REM-firms experience a significant increase in crash risk in the following year. These findings suggest that the impact of DRO on crash risk is at least partially through REM.
Corporate Boards and Bank Loan Contracting
The Journal of Financial Research,
We investigate the role of corporate boards in bank loan contracting. We find that when corporate boards are more independent, both price and nonprice loan terms (e.g., interest rates, collateral, covenants, and performance-pricing provisions) are more favorable, and syndicated loans comprise more lenders. In addition, board size, audit committee structure, and other board characteristics influence bank loan prices. However, they do not consistently affect all nonprice loan terms except for audit committee independence. Our study provides strong evidence that banks recognize the benefits of board monitoring in mitigating information risk ex ante and controlling agency risk ex post, and they reward higher quality boards with more favorable loan contract terms.
Regional Growth and Finance in Europe: Is there a Quality Effect of Bank Efficiency?
Journal of Banking & Finance,
In this study, we test whether regional growth in 11 European countries depends on financial development and suggest the use of cost- and profit-efficiency estimates as quality measures of financial institutions. Contrary to the usual quantitative proxies of financial development, the quality of financial institutions is measured in this study as the relative ability of banks to intermediate funds. An improvement in bank efficiency spurs five times more regional growth then an identical increase in credit does. More credit provided by efficient banks exerts an independent growth effect in addition to direct quantity and quality channel effects.
Democracy and Credit
Journal of Financial Economics,