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Providing investment incentives: The role of revenue recognition in performance measurement

Moshe Bareket, 2002
Faculty Advisor: Nahum D. Melumad
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This thesis investigates incentive provisions for a manager who makes investment decisions under capital constraints and for a manager who has private access to swap transactions. Exogenous financing constraints and access to swap transactions are found to have a direct impact on the way companies optimally account for revenues and income. The study demonstrate that the relative benefit depreciation method per se is not sufficient to achieve goal congruence in those situations and establishes that when the manager's time preferences are unknown to the owner, revenue recognition rules must be forward looking in order to achieve goal congruence. The study characterize the set of accounting rules that combined with residual income is unique in achieving goal congruence. The study also finds that a special relation between financial instruments (e.g., investments and swaps) has an impact on their accounting. This effect should be universal and not limited to cases where a derivative (swap) was adopted as suggested by generally accepted accounting standards (GAAP).

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