Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Kannan Raghunandan

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dasaratha Rama

Third Advisor's Name

Abhijit Barua

Fourth Advisor's Name

Suchismita Mishra

Keywords

Environmental, Strategic Initiatives, Audit Fees, Capital Expenditure, Earnings Management

Date of Defense

5-11-2011

Abstract

Although corporate environmental accountability is receiving unprecedented attention in the United States from policy makers, the capital market, and the public at large, extant research is limited in its examination of the implications of strategic corporate environmental initiatives on accounting and auditing. The purpose of my dissertation is to address these implications by examining the association between firm environmental initiatives and audit fees, capital expenditures, and earnings quality using multivariate regression analysis. I find that firms engaged in more strategic environmental initiatives tend to have significantly higher audit fees and capital expenditures, and significantly lower levels of earnings manipulation measured using discretionary accruals. These results support the notion that auditors do recognize the importance of environmental initiatives when conducting the year-end financial statement audit, an idea that positively reflects upon the auditor’s monitoring role. The results also demonstrate the increased amount of capital resources required to participate in strategic environmental initiatives, an anecdotal notion that had yet to be empirically supported. This empirical support provides valuable insights on how environmental initiatives materially impact corporate financial statements. Finally, my results extend the extant literature by demonstrating that the superior financial performance reported by environmentally active firms is less likely driven by earnings manipulation by management, and by implication, more likely a result of real economic gains. Taken together, my dissertation establishes a strong and timely foundation for current and future research to explore corporate environmental initiatives in the United States and globally, a topic increasingly gaining momentum in today’s more eco-conscious world.

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