NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Executives' "Off-The-Job" Behavior, Corporate Culture, and Financial Reporting Risk

Robert Davidson, Aiyesha Dey, Abbie J. Smith

NBER Working Paper No. 18001
Issued in April 2012, Revised in June 2012
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance

We examine how executives' behavior outside the workplace, as measured by their ownership of luxury goods (low "frugality") and prior legal infractions, is related to financial reporting risk. We predict and find that CEOs and CFOs with a legal record are more likely to perpetrate fraud. In contrast, we do not find a relation between executives' frugality and the propensity to perpetrate fraud. However, as predicted, we find that unfrugal CEOs oversee a relatively loose control environment characterized by relatively high probabilities of other insiders perpetrating fraud and unintentional material reporting errors. Further, cultural changes associated with an increase in fraud risk are more likely during unfrugal (vs. frugal) CEOs' reign, including the appointment of an unfrugal CFO, an increase in executives' equity-based incentives to misreport, and a decline in measures of board monitoring intensity.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18001

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