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Earnings Management Using Asset Sales: An International Study of Countries Allowing Noncurrent Asset Revaluation

By Ervin L. Black, Keith F. Sellers and Tracy S. Manly


Bartov (1993) demonstrates that US firms time asset sales to smooth income and affect debt/equity relationships. This study examines earnings management behavior through asset sales in countries that allow asset revaluation: Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) and the United Kingdom (UK). Earnings management behavior differs across these two country groups when their accounting rules differed prior to 1993, but is similar during the 1993-95 period when the UK implemented "FRS 3". The results also find that revaluer companies do not use asset sales to smooth income in ANZ nor in the UK after "FRS 3" was implemented in 1993. UK revaluers (prior to "FRS 3") and both countries' non-revaluers sell assets consistent with income smoothing. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998.

DOI identifier: 10.1111/1468-5957.00238
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