Discussion of Corporate Governance Reform and Executive Incentives: Implications for Investments and Risk Taking

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Abstract

We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article by Cohen, Dey and Lys (CDL). Strengths include persuasive theoretical arguments for impacts of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) on corporate investment strategies and for several mechanisms through which firms influence changes in risky investments. CDL also provides intriguing opportunities for learning about impacts of external regulatory events and for enriching management accounting research and classroom discussions of management control. Weaknesses include (1) narrow scope, perhaps driven by archival data availability; (2) difficulties in implementing the research design and method; (3) possible bias of incentive and investment measures; (4) incomplete estimates of the effect of SOX on compensation, incentives, and investments; and (5) questionable control of endogeneity. We offer recommendations from extant literature to mitigate these weaknesses in future research.

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