Earnings management through real activities manipulation

Sugata Roychowdhury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1756 Scopus citations


I find evidence consistent with managers manipulating real activities to avoid reporting annual losses. Specifically, I find evidence suggesting price discounts to temporarily increase sales, overproduction to report lower cost of goods sold, and reduction of discretionary expenditures to improve reported margins. Cross-sectional analysis reveals that these activities are less prevalent in the presence of sophisticated investors. Other factors that influence real activities manipulation include industry membership, the stock of inventories and receivables, and incentives to meet zero earnings. There is also some, though less robust, evidence of real activities manipulation to meet annual analyst forecasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-370
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Accounting and Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Accounting choice
  • Capital markets
  • Earnings manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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