Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

Joseph V. Carcello

Committee Members

Donald J. Bruce, Terry L. Neal, Tracie Woidtke



This paper provides evidence on the timing of earnings management behavior for initial public offering (IPO) firms in the annual periods surrounding the offering. It also examines whether this behavior is related to CEO and CFO trading after the offering. Using discretionary accruals as my proxy for earnings management, I find that, for firms that file a new 10-K before the trading restrictions provided in underwriter lockup agreements end, average IPO-firm discretionary accruals are significantly positive in the first 10-K filed after the offering, and that these discretionary accruals are significantly larger than those in the offering prospectus. I also find a positive relation between CEO and CFO trading activity and discretionary accruals for the same group of companies. Taken together, the results suggest that earnings management behavior is more prevalent in the first 10-K filed than in the offering prospectus, that it is concentrated in the firms that file this 10-K before their lockup period expires, and that it is positively related to CEO and CFO trading after the offering.


This paper examines whether earnings management behavior has decreased in the period following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) for IPO firms. It also explores how any changes I observe for IPOs relate to any changes that have occurred for the broader set of public companies. I find that IPO firms have experienced a significant decrease in earnings management after the passage of SOX. The results also provide evidence that this decrease is driven by the smallest public companies. While pre-SOX discretionary accruals for IPO firms are larger than those for non-IPO firms, I find that the post-SOX decrease in discretionary accruals results in the level of IPO-firm discretionary accruals becoming indistinguishable from that of non-IPO firms. Finally, the evidence suggests that the characteristics of post-SOX offerings are different from those of pre-SOX offerings, and that the decrease in discretionary accruals in the post-SOX period remains after controlling for these changes.

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