Non-GAAP Reporting and Investment
108 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2019 Last revised: 18 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 17, 2021
Managers’ incentives depend on their firms’ stock prices, which are often determined by investors using earnings. When investors use GAAP earnings, managers’ investment decisions into internally generated intangible assets become sensitive to the transitory items in these earnings. Non-GAAP earnings can remove these transitory items, and thus improve investment efficiency, but also introduce opportunistic bias, and thus hide inefficient investment. We quantify this trade-off by estimating a dynamic model in which a manager makes investment and non-GAAP disclosure decisions and where investors rationally anticipate his incentives. We find the manager’s ability to distort non-GAAP earnings creates inefficient investment choices and destroys firm value. We estimate the magnitude of the loss in the average firm value at just under 1%.
Keywords: Non-GAAP, pro-forma, investment, intangible assets, real effects, structural estimation
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