The Economic Determinants of Conditional Conservatism Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2009

start page

  • 336

end page

  • 372


  • 3-4


  • 36

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0306-686X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-5957


  • We study the economic determinants of conditional conservatism. Consistent with prior literature, we find that contracting induces only conditional conservatism and litigation induces both conditional and unconditional conservatism. We extend prior evidence by Qiang (2007) by showing that taxation and regulation induce not only unconditional conservatism, but conditional conservatism as well. We show that in certain scenarios taxation and regulation create incentives to shift income from periods with high taxation pressure and high public scrutiny to periods with lower taxation pressure and lower public scrutiny. These income shifting strategies are implemented by recognising current economic losses that, given managerial incentives to report aggressively, would not have been recognized otherwise, or by delaying the recognition of current economic gains that would have been recognized had circumstances been different.