Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Accounting

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether investment decisions are affected by the way in which pension information is presented in financial statements. MBA students and financial analysts were asked to estimate future stock prices and make purchase recommendations for ten cases based on selected sets of accounting and financial information. Three different forms of the information cue set were used. The pension cue was presented in a footnote to the cue set, as a line-item in the cue set, which was the equivalent of a balance sheet position, or incoporated into the debt/asset ratio. Responses were analyzed using analysis of variance in a profile analysis framework. In addition, measures of subject achievement, based on the Brunswik lens model, were used as dependent variables to determine the effect of cue set format and subject expertise on prediction achievement. The research found evidence that the manner in which pension information is presented affects stock price predictions. However, the effect did not carry over to subject purchase recommendations. The cue set factor and the subject's expertise also affected the ability of the subjects to predict stock prices. Subject achievement was significantly increased by the placement of pension information in a balance sheet position, rather than as a footnote. The financial analysts outperformed the student subjects on all measures of prediction achievement, except in the consistency with which they applied a linear model. However, differences between the students and the financial analysts was reduced by the use of the pension cue in the equivalent of a balance sheet position and the adjusted debt/asset ratio.

Pages

198

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