Accounting Conservatism and Corporate Governance Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2009

start page

  • 161

end page

  • 201


  • 1


  • 14

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1380-6653

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7136


  • We predict that firms with stronger corporate governance will exhibit a higher degree of accounting conservatism. Governance level is assessed using a composite measure that incorporates several internal and external characteristics. Consistent with our prediction, strong governance firms show significantly higher levels of conditional accounting conservatism. Our tests take into account the endogenous nature of corporate governance, and the results are robust using several measures of conservatism (market-based and nonmarket-based). Our evidence is consistent with the direction of causality flowing from governance to conservatism, and not vice versa, indicating that governance and conservatism are not substitutes. Finally, we study the impact of earnings discretion on the sensitivity of earnings to bad news across governance structures. We find that, on average, strong-governance firms appear to use discretionary accruals to inform investors about bad news in a timelier manner.