Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor

Masako N. Darrough

Committee Members

Jeremy Bertomeu

Mingcherng Deng

Edward X. Li

Lin Peng

Subject Categories

Accounting

Keywords

accounting measurement, real effects, structural estimation, accounting precision

Abstract

Theory on real effects suggests that more precise accounting does not necessarily improve investment efficiency. However, with investment efficiency mostly unobservable, empirical assessment of the theory is rare. This paper develops an empirical framework based on Kanodia et al. (2005) to structurally estimate the effect of imprecision in accounting measurement on investment efficiency. My estimates suggest that imprecision in accounting measurement has mitigated over-investment in capital expenditures and R&D by 28.6% and 4.9%, respectively. On average, firms still over-invest relative to the first-best full-information benchmark. In counterfactual analyses, my estimates suggest that the optimal investment efficiency could be achieved by reducing the current accounting precision by 4 percentage points (19.5 percentage points) in capital expenditures (R&D), which would increase investor welfare by 4.2% (22%). My study is among the first to provide a quantitative assessment of real effects and presents early evidence of excessive precision in accounting measurement.

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