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"
INVESTOR JUDGMENT AND
EXPERIMENTAL ACCOUNTING RESEARCH
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’ well-documented 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 misreport to avoid exactly meeting a benchmark, even though they have no financial incentive to alter true earnings. Thus, we uncover a new incentive to manage earnings: misreporting to appear truthful. Specifically, we find that when earnings exactly meet a benchmark, managers are more likely to misreport earnings when they report under high public scrutiny. This is particularly the case for managers who are low on the Dark Triad scale (and thus more sensitive to others’ perceptions). Further, we show that higher scrutiny of benchmark-meeting earnings increases managers’ belief that the market will accept their reports, consistent with managers misreporting for self-presentational goals. These results help explain otherwise undetectable behavior around earnings benchmarks and are important as managers are increasingly scrutinized by critical media, activists, and political oversight bodies, and as they face skepticism via more intimate forms of disclosure and communication, such as social media.