Date of Degree

6-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor

Carol Marquardt

Committee Members

Donal Byard

Kalin Kolev

Armen Hovakimian

Subject Categories

Accounting

Keywords

Non-GAAP Earnings, Economic Policy Uncertainty, Corporate Disclosure

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of economic policy uncertainty (EPU) on non-GAAP reporting. Prior research documents that numerous factors influence the frequency and quality of non-GAAP earnings disclosures, but the expected association between EPU and non-GAAP reporting is unclear. On the one hand, greater EPU may increase investor demand for additional financial information, while on the other hand, more EPU may lead to less non-GAAP disclosure by making core or recurring earnings more difficult to predict. Additionally, greater EPU may provide increased opportunity for managers to use non-GAAP reporting to mislead investors. I document a significantly positive association, on average, between EPU and the frequency and quality of non-GAAP earnings disclosure, consistent with managers using non-GAAP disclosures to better inform investors when faced with greater EPU. Cross-sectional tests confirm that these results are stronger for firms more likely to be affected by EPU, such as government contractors. In addition, supplemental tests reveal variation across EPU components; specifically, increased tax policy uncertainty is associated with decreased quality of non-GAAP reporting for the most aggressive tax reporters. This study deepens our understanding of the economic factors driving non-GAAP reporting, a phenomenon which continues to grow more prevalent over time.

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Accounting Commons

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