Title page for ETD etd-06062014-115148

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pan, Shanshan
URN etd-06062014-115148
Title Income Classification Shifting and Financial Analysts’ Forecasts
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Accounting
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cheng, Cheng-Shing Agnes Committee Chair
Reichelt, Ken J Committee Member
Song, Wei-Ling Committee Member
Baker, Birgitta Dean's Representative
  • market efficiency
  • earnings management
  • analyst forecast
  • classification shifting
Date of Defense 2013-12-02
Availability unrestricted
Income classification shifting involves opportunistically misclassifying core expenses into nonrecurring items in order to boost core earnings. Recent studies have documented large sample evidence of its existence (e.g. McVay 2006; Fan et al.,2010; Barua et al.,2010). Managers engage in income classification shifting because they believe the market in general and financial analysts in particular focus on core earnings. If financial analysts are experts in forecasting permanent earnings, they should be expected to identify reported core earnings that have been inflated through classification shifting and revise their future earnings forecast accordingly. Consistent with my prediction, I find that given the same amount of earnings news, analysts revise their future quarterly earnings forecasts by half as much for classification shifters than for non-classification shifters, suggesting analysts recognize that income classification shifters’ core earnings are less likely to persist into the future. However, I also find that analysts fail to fully gauge the impact of classification shifting on future earnings, leading to more optimistically biased forecasts for classification shifters. Finally, classification shifting makes it more difficult for analysts to forecast earnings so that their forecasts become less accurate.
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