ABSTRACT We investigate whether aggressive tax planning firms have a less transparent information environment. Although tax planning provides expected tax savings, it can simultaneously increase the financial complexity of the organization. And to the extent that this greater financial complexity cannot be adequately clarified through communications with outside parties, such as investors and analysts, transparency problems can arise. Our investigation of the association between tax aggressiveness and information asymmetry, analysts' forecast errors, and earnings quality suggests that aggressive tax planning is associated with lower corporate transparency. We also find evidence that managers at tax-aggressive firms attempt to mitigate these transparency problems by increasing various tax-related disclosures. Overall, our results suggest that firms face a trade-off between tax benefits and financial transparency when choosing the aggressiveness of their tax planning. JEL Classifications: G30; H26; M41.
We empirically examine standard agency predictions about how performance measures are optimally weighted to provide CEO incentives. Consistent with prior empirical research, we document that the relative weight on price and non‐price performance measures in CEO cash pay is a decreasing function of the relative variances. Agency theory speaks to the weights in total compensation (annual total pay and changes in the CEO's equity portfolio value), however, and we document that very little of CEOs' total incentives come from cash pay. We also document that variation in the relative weight on price and non‐price performance measures in CEO total compensation is an increasing function of the relative variances. The conflicting results using total compensation indicate that existing findings on cash pay cannot be interpreted as evidence supporting standard agency predictions. Based on our results, we suggest approaches for future research on performance measure use in CEO total compensation.
In this paper, we derive a measure of diluted EPS that incorporates the economic implications of the dilutive effects of employee stock options. We show that the existing FASB treasury‐stock method of accounting for the dilutive effects of outstanding options systematically understates the options' dilutive effect, and thus overstates reported EPS. Using firm‐wide data on 731 employee stock option plans, our proposed measure suggests that economic dilution from options is, on average, 100 percent greater than dilution in reported diluted EPS using the FASB treasury‐stock method. We examine the implications of our analysis for stock price valuation, the price‐earnings relation, and the return‐earnings relation. We demonstrate analytically that when firms have options outstanding, empirical applications of equity valuation models that use reported per‐share earnings as an input (e.g., Ohlson 1995) yield upwardly biased estimates of the market value of common stock. We predict that when the difference between our measure of economic dilution from options and the FASB treasury‐stock method dilution from options is greater, the observed return‐earnings and price‐earnings coefficients will be smaller, and we provide some (albeit weak) empirical support for this prediction.