This study examines whether the components of accounting conservatism as described in Watts (2003a): contracting, litigation, regulation, and taxation, provide insight on the value relevance of financial information. During the years 1993 through 2009, we explore whether these four factors are value relevant in capturing information in contemporaneous stock returns and prices and whether the trends in value relevance for these drivers vary across time. Specifically, our study aids in helping to reconcile the competing results of Balachandran and Mohanram (2011), who state that there is no compelling evidence that firms with higher levels of accounting conservatism exhibit decreasing levels of value relevance, and Lev and Zarowin (1999), who suggest that accounting conservatism is a factor causing a decline in the usefulness of financial information over time. Our results provide evidence that the level of contracting, litigation, and regulation are associated with returns and prices and their value relevance has not decreased over time, findings which differ from Lev and Zarowin (1999), and support Balachandran and Mohanram (2011), such that the expectation of these drivers are associated with value relevance. In addition, we find less consistent evidence that the taxation explanation of accounting conservatism is associated with value relevance.

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Keywords Conservatism, Contracting, Litigation, Regulation, Taxation, Value Relevance
Journal Journal of Applied Business Research
Petruska, K.A. (Karin A.), & Wakil, G. (2013). Firm valuation, market responses, and accounting conservatism. Journal of Applied Business Research, 29(3), 793–808.