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18-06-2020 | Issue 4/2020

Review of Accounting Studies 4/2020

Negative accounting earnings and gross domestic product

Journal:
Review of Accounting Studies > Issue 4/2020
Authors:
Fabio B. Gaertner, Asad Kausar, Logan B. Steele
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11142-020-09536-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Konchitchki and Patatoukas Journal of Accounting and Economics 57 (1-2), 76–88, (2014a) show that aggregate accounting earnings growth predicts future nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth and that professional macro forecasters do not fully incorporate the information contained in aggregate accounting earnings. Based on results from prior literature, which find that accounting earnings reflect bad economic news in a timelier manner than good news, we condition Konchitchki and Patatoukas’s GDP growth forecast model on the sign of earnings changes. We show that negative changes in aggregate earnings predict future GDP growth while positive changes in earnings do not. Furthermore, we show that professional macro forecasters underreact to the information contained in negative changes in aggregate earnings about future GDP growth. Additional tests suggest our findings are a result of conservative accruals in earnings.

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