We propose and validate a new measure of earnings quality based on a hidden Markov model. This measure, termed earnings fidelity, captures how faithful earnings signals are in revealing the true economic state of the firm. We estimate the measure using a Markov chain Monte Carlo procedure in a Bayesian hierarchical framework that accommodates cross-sectional heterogeneity. Earnings fidelity is positively associated with the forward earnings response coefficient. It significantly outperforms existing measures of quality in predicting two external indicators of low-quality accounting: restatements and Securities and Exchange Commission comment letters.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics