ABSTRACT

Prior research shows that managers make income-decreasing accounting choices around labor negotiations and predicts that managers disclose bad news during labor negotiations. This study extends the literature by investigating whether disclosure and financial statement reporting practices are consistent during employee downsizing years. Using data from Japanese domestic firms during the period 2002–2016, we find that beginning-of-period management forecasts (i.e., disclosure) are positively associated with during-period negative stock returns for downsizing firms but not for non-downsizing firms. Also, downsizing firms report more conservative earnings at the end of the fiscal year (i.e., financial statement reporting). Our supplementary analyses show no difference in an association between management forecast errors and stock returns between downsizing and non-downsizing firms with during-period negative stock returns, nor in an association between discretionary accruals and employee downsizing. These results suggest that managers strategically inform firms' prospects during employee downsizing years.

JEL Classifications: G34; J51; M41.

Data Availability: Data are available from the public sources cited in the text.

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