The Impact of the Asian Financial Crisis on Conservatism and Timeliness of Earnings: Evidence from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand


This paper examines conservatism and timeliness of earnings in the period surrounding the 1997 Asian financial crisis in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Prior research suggests that managers tended to be more aggressive in reporting good news and delayed recognition of bad news during the financial crisis (less conservative and less timely in financial reporting). after the crisis, these four countries implemented corporate governance measures to stabilize their financial systems and improve regulation and supervision (that should improve conservatism and timeliness). We examine and find that conservatism and timeliness of earnings during the crisis period are low, but improved in the post-crisis period. More importantly, conservatism and timeliness in the post-crisis period is even greater than in the pre-crisis period. We measure conservatism using Basu's model and the accumulation of non-operating accruals suggested by Givoly and Hayn. the findings from both measures are consistent with an increase in conservatism after the crisis period. Overall, the results indicate that corporate governance reforms in these four countries had a positive impact on conservatism and timeliness of earnings.


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Asian Financial Crisis; Conservatism; Timeliness

Document Type

Article - Journal

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