CORPORATE STRATEGY, EARNINGS MANIPULATION, AND SHORT SELLING
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Earnings manipulation has perplexed many investors and regulators for decades. Factors such as CEO’s characteristics, macro environment, behavioral biases, and regulation rules are discussed in the literature. In this paper, corporate strategy aggressiveness is proposed to be one of the factors that leads to earnings manipulation. Short interest ratio is used to indicate how the market perceive and react to company’s earnings manipulation probability. Based on the data from Russell 2000 constituents during 2015 to 2019, my hierarchical regression results indicate that firms with the aggressive strategy are more likely to be engaged in earnings manipulation activities, resulting in a higher short interest ratio. The findings are significant when the model uses a binary variable instead of a continuous variable to measure the corporate strategy aggressiveness in the robust test. This paper will interest investors that focus on fundamental investing and researchers who study accounting, corporate strategy, and financial market.