Strategic Conservative Earnings Management of Technology Firms: Evidence from the IPO Market


  • Bill B. Francis,

  • Iftekhar Hasan,

  • Mingming Zhou

Mingming Zhou, College of Business, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA. Tel: 719-255-5153, Fax: 719-255-3494. Email:


In this paper, we investigate the conservative earnings management strategies of technology firms in the IPO market. We hypothesize that technology IPOs, due to their fewer tangible assets, more information asymmetry, and higher uncertainties of future cash flows, tend to have higher litigation risk. At equilibrium, technology firms are more motivated to strategically employ conservative earnings management during the IPO process, to mitigate their higher litigation risk. Using a sample of U.S. IPOs, we find that technology IPOs, on average, involve significantly more conservative earnings management, especially during the bubble periods. Our results also show that the conservative earnings management strategies of technology firms tends to have a greater impact on their underpricing than for non-tech firms, and thus effectively reduce their risk of being a target in the securities class action lawsuits.