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Yongqing Li, Jinghui Liu, Ian Eddie



This study contributes to the literature on the ownership structure by investigating the effect of special share types on the practice of earnings management in China. Equity ownership in listed Chinese companies have five different types: state-owned shares, legal person shares, employee shares, A-shares, and B- & H-shares, which is a phenomenon unique to the Chinese equity market. Empirical analysis shows that different share types and mixed ownership structure significantly affects the company’s earnings management. Using a sample of 544 listed Chinese company-years, this study finds that the state-owned shares and legal person shares are positively associated with earnings management. However, the proportion of B- & H-shares is not related to earnings management. In addition, empirical results also show evidence in support of a positive relationship between the proportion of A-shares and earnings management. These findings indicate that transferral of more state-owned shares and legal person shares to the public can mitigate earnings management. However, because currently in China shares are still largely owned by the state or legal persons, the magnitude of earnings management may be maintained at a high level. In addition, due to tradable A-shares has a positive relation with earnings management, holding a large proportion of A-shares still cannot effectively constrain earnings manipulation, which suggests that China’s ownership structure reform may not be highly successful as China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) expected. In achieving a better corporate governance practice, further structure reform is essential.

Keywords: Share Types, Earnings Management, Ownership Structure, SOEs Reform

How to cite this paper: Li, Y., Liu, J., & Eddie, I. (2011). Share types and earnings management: Evidence from Chinese listed companies. Corporate Ownership & Control, 8(2-2), 271-284.