CEO Incentives and Earnings Prediction
49 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2012
Date Written: April 23, 2012
This study investigates whether information about Chief Executive Officer (CEO) incentives is useful for predicting future earnings. We find that in companies with higher CEO equity incentives, current year earnings are more informative of future earnings than in other companies. Additionally, in an earnings prediction setting, CEO incentives are shown to provide information about future earnings that is incremental to current earnings or earnings components. The predictive power of CEO incentives for future earnings is robust to the inclusion of other predictors of future earnings. Furthermore, we find that CEO incentives are predictive of “real” future earnings, as represented by operating cash flow and non-discretionary accruals, but not predictive of future discretionary accruals. Finally, we find that financial analysts do not incorporate information about CEO incentives when they forecast future earnings. This result suggests that incorporating CEO incentives can potentially improve analyst forecasts of future earnings.
Keywords: Executive compensation, Equity incentives, Incentive structure, Earnings prediction, Earnings informativeness, Analyst forecast, Agency theory
JEL Classification: J33, J41, M41, M51
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