Religiosity and social between the CEO and the audit committee: An empirical study on earnings management.

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Although many audit committee members seem ‘’independent’’ , anecdotal evidence suggests that the CEO and the audit committee members are often linked due to social networks. This study examines the relationship between social ties and earnings management, and the moderation effect of religiosity on this relationship. It extents current research by arguing that the relationship between social ties and earnings management is influenced by religiosity. Based on a sample from large stock market companies in Europe from 2010-2015, there is some evidence that these social networks have an effect on accrual-based earnings management. This thesis measures earnings management in total and separately for accrual-based earnings management and real earnings management. However, the effect of social ties on real earnings management is not significant, neither are the results of total earnings management. The substitution effect of accrual-based and real earnings management is present and shows that accrual-based earnings management and real earnings management are in fact substitutes of each other. This is in contrast to the effect of religion on earnings management, which has no effect in this sample. The limitation of this study is the number of observations and the big differences in the institutional environments of the European countries.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen