Career concerns and earnings management in government-owned banks

Publication Name

Accounting and Finance


We examine how government ownership in banks affects earnings management to determine whether competing political or agency interests prevail. Using bank ownership data for 171 Chinese commercial banks from 2006 to 2018, we find more accruals management in government-owned banks, especially to reduce earnings. This effect is stronger in banks with less influence from controlling shareholders, more concentrated ownership structures, and in more developed provinces. Overall, our results find support for the agency view, where managers in government-owned banks use accruals management to reduce social and political responsibilities, leading to increases in their promotion prospects.

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