Performance reporting of comprehensive income and earnings management
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In 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU 2011-05, which mandates that Comprehensive Income (CI) and Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) be reported in the performance statements (i.e., either in the income statement or a separate statement of comprehensive income) rather than in the previously-allowed equity statement. Using this issuance as an exogenous event, I examine whether the presentation of accounting information in different statements affects earnings management behavior. In particular, I investigate whether the required presentation of CI/OCI in the performance statements reduces earnings management through selective sales of available-for-sale (AFS) securities in the banking industry. I first document that prior to ASU 2011-05, banks presenting CI/OCI in the equity statements engage in more management of realized gains and losses on AFS securities compared to banks presenting CI/OCI in the performance statements. More importantly, employing a difference-in-differences design, I show a larger reduction in (though not complete elimination of) earnings management for banks mandated to switch the reporting position of CI/OCI, relative to a control group of banks voluntarily using performance statements prior to the mandatory adoption. Overall, this evidence suggests that mandated reporting of CI/OCI in the performance statements reduces banks’ earnings smoothing behavior.