This study investigates whether and how a firm's real earnings management (REM) is influenced by the strength of a country's legal regime and the presence of a Big 4 auditor. In a cross-country examination using data from 22 countries, we find that REM increases in countries with stronger legal regimes as firms switch from accrual-based earnings management (AEM) to REM. The presence of a Big 4 auditor reduces REM (as well as AEM) and attenuates the positive relation between legal regime strength and REM. Our results suggest that higher-quality auditors limit client firms’ use of REM, especially in countries with a strong legal regime.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Economics and Econometrics