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.
Assistant Professor in Accounting
University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Business School
Plantage Moudergracht 12
1001 NL Amsterdam
PhD in Accounting
ROTTERDAM SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT,
PhD in Accounting and Control
Doctoral thesis:"Changes in the Information Landscape and Capital Market Communication"
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Research visit from August to December 2018
Invited by Jessen Hobson
HUMBOLDT UNIVERSITY, BERLIN
Master in Economics and Management Studies
Master thesis: "Behavioral Approaches to Information Acquisition and Avoidance"
TRANSACTION COST UNBUNDLING AND INVESTORS' RELIANCE ON INVESTMENT RESEARCH: EVIDENCE FROM EXPERIMENTAL ASSET MARKETS
single-authored. Accounting, Organizations and Society (Forthcoming).
Broker-dealers traditionally charge their clients for the provision of investment research with a composite fee that bundles payments for research with other variable fees, such as those for trade executions. Due to regulatory changes in Europe, US broker-dealers temporarily allowed some of their clients to pay an explicit fee for the provision of investment research. Drawing on the sunk cost literature, 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, which is consistent with the dynamics of a sunk cost fallacy. I find marginal evidence that the enhanced focus on the forecast further inhibits investors' learning, as reflected in a slower reduction of price errors over time. These results are important since investors worldwide are increasingly paying explicit charges for investment research, a trend reinforced by a recent SEC policy change.
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 increased skepticism provides perverse incentives to not meet earnings expectations exactly. Using a stylized experiment, we find that managers who are more sensitive to the scrutiny of others misreport to avoid exactly meeting a benchmark when public scrutiny increases, even though they have no financial incentive to do so. Thus, we uncover misreporting to appear truthful as a new incentive to manage earnings. We further find that this scrutiny increases managers’ belief that investors will accept their reports, consistent with managers misreporting for self-presentational goals. These results are important as managers are increasingly scrutinized by regulators, activist shareholders, social and traditional media.