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Welcome! 

 

My name is Sebastian and I am an Assistant Professor in Accounting from the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Business School. You can find more information about me and my work on this site. 

My research examines how the formatting and complexity of firm disclosure influences users, preparers and auditors of financial statements in their judgment and decision making. While my research projects involve several agents, they all relate to fundamental topics in financial accounting, such as disclosure credibility, investor learning, earnings management and fraud. Using mostly economics based experimental methods, I capitalize on the comparative advantage of experiments at disentangling the effect of disclosure on investment decisions, measuring intervening processes and drawing strong causal inferences.

 

Check out the section on research projects for an overview of my work and find more information about me in my CV.

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Sebastian Stirnkorb

Assistant Professor in Accounting

University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam Business School

 

Email:

s.stirnkorb@uva.nl 

 

Address:

Plantage Moudergracht 12

Postbus 15953

1001 NL Amsterdam

EDUCATION
 
2016-2021

PhD in Accounting

ROTTERDAM SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT,

ERASMUS UNIVERSITY

PhD in Accounting and Control

Doctoral thesis:"Changes in the Information Landscape and Capital Market Communication"

2018 

Research Visit

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

Research visit from August to December 2018

Invited by Jessen Hobson

2013-2016

Master's Degree

HUMBOLDT UNIVERSITY, BERLIN

Master in Economics and Management Studies

Master thesis: "Behavioral Approaches to Information Acquisition and Avoidance"

RESEARCH INTERESTS
 

INVESTOR JUDGMENT AND

DECISION MAKING

FRAUD DETECTION

VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE

EXPERIMENTAL ACCOUNTING RESEARCH

EARNINGS MANAGEMENT

INVESTOR DISAGREEMENT

RESEARCH PROJECTS
 
MANAGING EARNINGS TO APPEAR TRUTHFUL: THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY ON EXACTLY MEETING A THRESHOLD
with Jessen Hobson

The past two decades have not eliminated managers’ willingness to manage earnings to meet and beat thresholds but have increased investors’ skepticism of earnings that exactly meet those thresholds. This provides perverse incentives to not meet earnings expectations exactly. Using a low context experiment, we find that managers who are more sensitive to others’ scrutiny, misreport to avoid exactly meeting a benchmark when public scrutiny increases, even though they have no financial incentive to do so. Thus, we uncover a new incentive to manage earnings: misreporting to appear truthful. Further, we show that this scrutiny increases managers’ belief that the market will accept their reports, consistent with managers misreporting for self-presentational goals. These results are important as managers are increasingly scrutinized via more intimate forms of disclosure and communication, such as social media.

THE EFFECT OF TRANSACTION COST UNBUNDLING ON INVESTORS' RELIANCE ON INVESTMENT RESEARCH: EVIDENCE FROM EXPERIMENTAL ASSET MARKETS
single-authored
Recent regulatory changes within Europe (regulation MiFID II) mandate broker-dealers to charge clients explicitly for any investment research they provide. This new mandate replaces the common practice of bundling these charges with other variable fees, such as those for trade executions. Drawing on transaction decoupling theory, I examine how transaction cost unbundling influences investors’ reliance on investment research. Results from 16 experimental markets indicate that investors place greater weight on costly forecasts under a system of unbundled payments compared to bundled payments, but only if transaction costs are sufficiently high to provoke feelings of regret. Focusing on the forecast, investors also cede to reduce price errors over time. Additional analysis suggests that salient cost disclosure, a more cost-effective way to generate transparent transaction costs, does not similarly impact investor judgment. These results are important in light of recent SEC discussions on how to respond to Europe’s regulatory push for cost transparency.
IMPROVING AUDIT QUALITY BY ENHANCING AUDITORS' DETECTION OF MARKERS OF MANAGEMENT DECEPTION
with Jessen Hobson, Mark Peecher and Devin Williams
The investing public has long looked to the independent financial-statement auditor to help prevent and detect instances of material financial-statement fraud.  Yet, it has only been in recent decades that audit standards recognize explicitly that auditors are responsible for providing high assurance that the financial statements are not materially misstated due to fraud. In this paper, we investigate whether auditors’ ability to detect fraud is impaired by a psychological preference to avoid believing that one’s own client – a socially close affiliate – has been engaging in deception of the investing public as well as the auditor themselves. To test our research question, we asked 184 Dutch Big-4 auditors from senior to partner level to listen to an earnings conference call of their own client and respond to a survey. We manipulated in a fully-crossed between-subjects design whether participants were primed to look out for signs of fraud or cognitive dissonance while listening to the call and taking notes. This project is currently in the data analysis phase as we are combining our experimental data with archival insights from the participating firms and publicly available financial data.
NOT SEEING EYE TO EYE: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN IDENTIFIED AND NON-IDENTIFIED INVESTORS' REACTIONS TO ADVERSE EVENT DISCLOSURE
with Erik Peek and Marcel van Rinsum
This study investigates the joint effects of company identification and locus of attribution on investors’ judgments of management credibility. We study these effects in the context of an adverse event disclosure. Building on Social Identity theory and prior empirical findings, we posit that shareholders identify with the company they are invested in and make different judgments about managerial credibility than non-identified outside investors when managers employ external attribution. The findings from our experiment confirm that non-identified investors view external attributions as less credible than identified investors do. In contrast, we find no such difference when management uses internal attribution. We provide evidence on the mediating role of in-group favoritism, and we document that the differences in credibility are mainly driven by perceptions of trustworthiness (rather than competence). In addition, our results indicate that differences in credibility judgments between identified and non-identified investors affect valuation judgments, thus inducing disagreement among investors. One important practical implication of our findings is that company identification can be a valuable asset to companies. Another is that, arguably counterintuitively, managers should shy away from employing external attributions when communicating about adverse events with prospective, non-identified investors.