Why are losses less persistent than profits? Curtailments vs. conservatism

Lawrence, A, Sloan, R and Sun, E (2018) Why are losses less persistent than profits? Curtailments vs. conservatism. Management Science, 64 (2). pp. 673-694. ISSN 0025-1909

Abstract

It is well documented that losses are less persistent than profits and that stock prices anticipate the lower persistence of losses. Yet the underlying explanation for these results is unclear. One explanation lies in the abandonment option, whereby firms with losses are more likely to curtail operations (e.g., Hayn [Hayn C (1995) The information content of losses. J. Accounting Econom. 20(2):125–153]). Another explanation involves timely loss recognition stemming from conservative accounting (e.g., Basu [Basu S (1997) The conservatism principle and the asymmetric timeliness of earnings. J. Accounting Econom. 24(1):3–37]). We provide direct evidence that curtailments are an important factor contributing to the lower persistence of losses. An implication of our results is that popular measures of conservatism, such as the measure proposed by Basu, also reflect curtailments.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Accounting
Subjects: C > Conservatism
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 10:49
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 16:04
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/943
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