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Keywords:

  • industry analysis;
  • research and development (R&D);
  • capital expenditures (CAPEX);
  • earnings variability;
  • SFAS 2

Abstract:  We estimate the association of investments in R&D and in physical assets (CAPEX) with subsequent earnings variability. We estimate these relations in different time periods and across industries. We find that R&D contributes to subsequent earnings variability more than CAPEX only in relative R&D-intensive industries – industries in which R&D is relatively more intensive than physical capital. In physical assets-intensive industries, we do not find similar relations. The findings suggest that with respect to subsequent earnings variability, fundamental differences between investment information about R&D and CAPEX exist. However, they are mainly noticeable in firms that operate in relatively R&D-intensive industries. The evidence also suggests there was a shift in the relations between R&D and CAPEX over time. Our findings contribute to the debate on accounting for R&D expenditures.