An Analyzing of Earnings Management and its Persistence in Leveraged and Nonleveraged Companies Using Markov Chains

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Humanity, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.

2 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Administrative and Economics, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, University of Alzahra, Tehran, Iran.


Objective: This is the main idea that we investigate earnings management using the approach of Markov stochastic processes. Using Markov processes, the persistence of earnings management - the continuity of earnings management over time - can be determined. Thus, this research initiates a new discussion in the field of studying earnings management behavior and intends to analyse the effect of leverage on earnings management with the help of Markov processes. The main question was whether the leverage affects the persistence of earnings management, followed by the ability to predict earnings management and the impact of current situations on the likelihood of future earnings management.
Methods: The data of 104 companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) during the 2013-2019 has been used to test the research hypotheses. Also, The Jones model to determine the earnings management index and Markov stochastic process method using MATLAB software used to test the research hypotheses.
Results: Our Findings showed that earnings management is likely at any level of leverage to occur. On the other hand, there is no regular forecast of earnings management in both leveraged and nonleveraged companies. The results also show that the impact of earnings management persistency in leveraged and nonleveraged companies decreases over time. Finally, the results showed that there is no significant difference between the persistency of earnings management in leveraged companies and nonleveraged companies.
Conclusion: The use of probabilistic processes helps to clarify the hidden aspects of different subjects such as earnings management. In this study, we found that leverage has no significant effect on the persistence of earnings management. The method used in this study, regardless of the limitations caused by the assumptions of regression models, helps to better understand the nature of earnings management, however, findings show that theories about the relationship between leverage and earnings management at least with the examine method in this study could not be confirmed and factors such as leverage may be affected over time by other key factors, such as increased transparency and close oversight by regulatory agencies.


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