The Effect of Potential Environmental Liabilities on Earnings Response Coefficients

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In this study, we investigate the implication of potential environmental liabilities for the reliability (noisiness) of accounting information as it manifests itself in the magnitude of an earnings response coefficient (ERC). Multiple regression analyses of abnormal stock returns on earnings surprise and other control variables are carried out. The results provide support for the hypothesis that the ERCs for potentially responsible party (PRP) firms are lower than those of non-PRP firms. Robustness of the results, with regard to the sample selection procedures and inclusion/exclusion of different control variables, was checked as well. In addition, the results indicate that as firms are named as PRP for more sites, their ERCs decline, which is an indication that the market perceived increased noise in their earnings. These results are consistent with the notion that potential environmental liabilities create noise in a firm's accounting system in general and its earnings in particular.


This article was originally published in Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance


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