Fair Value Accounting and Managers' Hedging Decisions

Authors


  • Accepted by Philip Berger. We appreciate helpful comments from an anonymous reviewer, Jun Han, Lisa Koonce, Eng Juan Ng, Terence Ng, Seet-Koh Tan, and workshop participants at Nanyang Technological University. We are grateful to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Nanyang Technological University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and University of New South Wales for financial support. We thank Clarence Goh, Jeffrey Pickerd, Yao Yu, and Bo Zhou for research assistance.

ABSTRACT

We conduct two experiments with experienced accountants to investigate how fair value accounting affects managers’ real economic decisions. In experiment 1, we find that participants are more likely to make suboptimal decisions (e.g., forgo economically sound hedging opportunities) when both the economic and fair value accounting impact information is presented than when only the economic impact information is presented, or when both the economic and historical cost accounting impact information is presented. This adverse effect of fair value accounting is more likely when the price volatility of the hedged asset is higher, which is a situation where, paradoxically, hedging is more beneficial. We find that the effect is mediated by participants’ relative considerations of economic factors versus accounting factors (e.g., earnings volatility). Experiment 2 shows that enhancing salience of economic information or separately presenting net income not from fair value remeasurements reduces the adverse effect of fair value accounting. Our findings are informative to standard setters in their debate on the efficacy of fair value accounting.

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