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Independent directors' demographic characteristics, earnings management and investment efficiency : evidence from China

English Abstract

This study investigates whether the independent director system has an effect on earrings management and investment efficiency in a Chinese context. In particular, it examines the relationship among independent directors’ demographic characteristics (including the age and educational level), earnings management and investment efficiency. The sample in this study consists of 4,461 firm-year observations which are coming from the non-financial A-shares listed firms on Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange in China from 2004 to 2010. Based on the results, it finds that the age of independent directors are negatively associated with earnings management and investment efficiency, respectively; while their educational level has no such relation to earnings management and investment efficiency. These findings suggest that the older independent directors are indeed conservative and experienced, so that they can constrain the earnings management and improve the investment efficiency; however, the independent directors with higher educational level do not indicate that they have knowledge or abilities to fulfill their monitoring role. The study contributes to the understanding about earnings management and investment efficiency, and a growing literature about the upper echelons theory. More important, it contributes to the understanding of independent director system in China, the findings offer insight to the policymakers and regulators about enhancing the monitoring role of independent directors, even the future improvement and development of independent director system in China.

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Mak, Hon Kuan


Faculty of Business Administration


Department of Accounting and Information Management


M. Sc.


Directors of corporations -- China

Corporate governance -- China


Lee, Byung Hee

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