Marking to Market versus Taking to Market
American Economic Review
US : American Economic Association
2246 - 2276 p.
Cost and market value accounting, Agency, Gains trading, Equilibrium accounting rules
Building on the idea that accounting matters for corporate governance, this paper studies the equilibrium interaction between the measurement rules that firms find privately optimal, firms’ governance, and the liquidity in the secondary market for their assets. This equilibrium approach reveals an excessive use of market-value accounting: corporate performance measures rely excessively on the information generated by other firms’ asset sales and insufficiently on the realization of a firm’s own capital gains. This dries up market liquidity and reduces the informativeness of price signals, thereby making it more costly for firms to overcome their agency problems.