This work examines the relationship between family control and earnings quality in a context where the salient agency problem shifts away from the classical divergence between managers and shareholders to conflicts between the controlling owner and minority shareholders. The results reveal that, compared to non-family firms, family firms reveal higher earnings quality in terms of both lower discretionary accruals and greater predictability of future cash flows. They also show a positive relationship between the level of voting rights held by the controlling family and earnings quality. The evidence is consistent with the presence of a reputation/long-term involvement effect associated with the family firm. Moreover, the work reflects that, as the divergence between the voting and cash flow rights in the hands of the controlling family decreases, earnings quality increases.
voting rights, divergence, family firms, earnings quality, private benefits.
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