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Corporate ownership and the information content of earnings in Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703 - 717
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Financial Economics
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
DatePublished - May 2009

Abstract

In this article we test the influence of ownership structure on the information content of earnings in Polish-listed companies. Our investigation is based on the notion that in a weak corporate governance environment expropriation of private benefits of control is pervasive and manipulation of financial disclosure is a way to conceal those benefits to avoid disciplinary action. Concentrated ownership can act as a substitute for missing country-level corporate governance mechanisms to limit acquisition of private benefits of control, reducing incentives to mispresent financial situation and thus improving the quality of public accounting information. We find that weak country-level corporate governance mechanisms in the transition environment are best substituted by concentrated holdings of several investors rather than a single large shareholder. The information content of earnings increases when a few blockowners jointly hold between 25 and 50% of voting rights. We argue that the overall beneficial effects on corporate governance practices come from each blockholder's incentives to protect themselves from being expropriated by managers and other blockholders. We also find a positive impact of managerial holdings on the information content of earnings, and we argue that the holdings effectively align managers' and investors' interests.

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Publisher: Routledge

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