How do the ownership structure and board of directors' features impact earnings management? the spanish case
PublisherJournal of International Financial Management & Accounting
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This paper examines how the ownership structure and board of directors' features determine the managerial opportunistic behavior exemplified in the management of accounting earnings. This study contributes to the literature by investigating the relationship of firm‐level and country‐level corporate governance systems on the earnings management in the Spanish corporate sector. Results reveal that the varying efficiency of the corporate governance systems is reflected in the way in which accounting discretion is performed. We found evidence that earnings management is reduced as the voting rights of the controlling shareholder increased and that there is an inverse U‐shaped relationship between insiders' ownership and the earnings manipulation. Regarding the board characteristics, we observe that larger, independent boards, those with a larger proportion of female members, and those with an audit committee compounded by a greater proportion of outside independent directors oversee managers more efficiently, constraining their capacity to manage earnings. To the contrary, board duality increases the likelihood of opportunistic manipulation of financial reporting. We found that when the institutional environment improves in the Spanish context, the discretionary power of the corporate sector to overstate the financial statements is reduced. The findings prove the necessity of reinforcing the rules and regulations toward a more transparent disclosure of the financial statements.