Faculty & Research

Mark Maffett

Mark G. Maffett

Associate Professor of Accounting

Mark G. Maffett studies international financial reporting and the effects of disclosure regulation, with a focus on real effects, such as mine safety, healthcare prices, and foreign corruption. His papers have been published in the Journal of Accounting & Economics, the Journal of Accounting Research, the Review of Accounting Studies, Management Science and Foundations and Trends in Accounting.

Outside of academia, Maffett's professional experience extends to a stint at a healthcare-focused investment banking firm and work as an associate in auditing, assurance services, and financial consulting at a mid-tier accounting firm. During this time, he worked with firms in industries ranging from healthcare to NASCAR and gained an appreciation for the value of knowledge of financial accounting principles for managers, investors, bankers and financial analysts. He hopes that students who take his “Complex Deals” course will increase their sophistication as users of financial information by enhancing their ability to understand complex organizational structures.

Maffett earned his Ph.D. in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Additionally, he holds a M.A. in humanities from The University of Chicago, has dual degrees from Wake Forest University in accounting (M.S.A.) and in analytical finance (B.S.), and is also a licensed (inactive) C.P.A.

Mark enjoys hanging out with his daughters Maya and Emmy, exploring the Chicago restaurant scene, and drinking bourbon.

 

2019 - 2020 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
30120 Accounting, Economic, and Regulatory Issues in Complex Deals 2020 (Spring)

Other Interests

Travel, running, food, college basketball.

 

Research Activities

Financial disclosure and capital markets; financial reporting transparency; liquidity; international accounting; institutional investors.

“The Real Effects of Mandated Information on Social Responsibility in Financial Reports: Evidence from Mine-Safety Records” (with Hans Christensen, Eric Floyd, and Lisa Liu), conditionally accepted, Journal of Accounting and Economics.

“Foreign Institutional Ownership and the Global Convergence of Financial Reporting Practices” (with Vivian Fang and Bohui Zhang), Journal of Accounting Research 53 (2015), 593-631.

“Post-Listing Performance and Private Sector Regulation: The Experience of the AIM” (with Joseph Gerakos and Mark Lang), Journal of Accounting & Economics 56 (2013), 189-215.

“Financial Reporting Opacity and Informed Trading by International Institutional Investors” Journal of Accounting & Economics 54 (2012), 201-220.

“Transparency, Liquidity, and Valuation: International Evidence on when Transparency Matters Most” (with Mark Lang and Karl Lins); Journal of Accounting Research 50 (2012), 729-774.

“Transparency and Liquidity Uncertainty in Crisis Periods” (with Mark Lang); Journal of Accounting & Economics 52 (2011), 101-125.

“Economic Effects of Transparency in International Equity Markets” (with Mark Lang); Foundations and Trends in Accounting 5 (2011), 175-241.

REVISION: Public Oversight and Reporting Credibility: Evidence from the PCAOB Audit Inspection Regime
Date Posted: Nov  06, 2019
This paper studies the impact of public audit oversight on financial reporting credibility. We analyze changes in market responses to earnings news after public audit oversight is introduced, exploiting that the regime onset depends on fiscal-year ends, auditors, and the rollout of auditor inspections. We find that investors respond more strongly to earnings news following public audit oversight. Corroborating these findings, we find an increase in volume responses to 10-K filings after the new regime. Our results show that public audit oversight can enhance reporting credibility and that this credibility is priced in capital markets.

New: Public Audit Oversight and Reporting Credibility: Evidence from the PCAOB Audit Inspection Regime
Date Posted: Nov  02, 2019
This paper studies the impact of public audit oversight on financial reporting credibility. We analyze changes in market responses to earnings news after public audit oversight is introduced, exploiting that the regime onset depends on fiscal-year ends, auditors, and the roll-out of auditor inspections. We find that investors respond more strongly to earnings news following public audit oversight. Corroborating these findings, we find an increase in volume responses to 10-K filings after the new regime. Our results show that public audit oversight can enhance reporting credibility and that this credibility is priced in capital markets.

REVISION: Regulatory Cooperation and Foreign Portfolio Investment
Date Posted: Oct  06, 2019
We investigate the effect of cross-border regulatory cooperation in the enforcement of securities laws on global-mutual-fund portfolio allocations. Our research design exploits a shock to the Securities and Exchange Commission's oversight of foreign firms cross-listed on a US stock exchange around the signing of the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU), a non-binding, information-sharing arrangement between global securities regulators. In signatory countries, foreign investment in US-cross-listed firms increases by $110 billion relative to non-cross-listed firms. The strongest effects are for investors facing greater information asymmetries, those from countries closely linked to the US, and non-US foreign investors, suggesting significant spillover effects from international regulatory cooperation.

REVISION: Proactive Financial Reporting Enforcement and Shareholder Wealth
Date Posted: Oct  06, 2019
Within the U.K.’s proactive financial-reporting-enforcement regime, we examine the effect of increased regulatory scrutiny on equity values. We find that a fourfold increase in the likelihood of regulator-initiated reviews of financial reports reduces equity values by 1.3% on average. Reductions in equity values are largest for firms with strong private oversight that likely ensures that they are closer to their equity-value-maximizing level of transparency. Additional evidence suggests that competition increases and that managers’ investment horizons decrease in industries selected for increased regulatory scrutiny, consistent with direct compliance costs not fully explaining the reduction in equity values.

REVISION: Policeman for the World: U.S. Enforcement of Foreign Corruption Regulation and Corporate Investment Policies
Date Posted: Sep  06, 2019
We examine the impact of US enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) on firms’ investment policies. Following a sharp increase in FCPA prosecutions in the mid-2000s, particularly for violations of the Act’s recordkeeping provision, both US and non-US companies under US jurisdiction headquartered in countries that agree to increase cooperation with US regulators (“FCPA” firms) reduce direct investment in corrupt countries; there is no evidence that non-FCPA firms offset this reduction. Consistent with the FCPA imposing significant recordkeeping-related compliance costs, following the enforcement increase, FCPA firms significantly strengthen their internal anti-bribery controls when investing in a corrupt country.

REVISION: Securities Regulation, Household Equity Ownership, and Trust in the Stock Market
Date Posted: Aug  08, 2019
Using aggregate data from national accounts, we study whether strengthening and harmonizing securities regulation across the European Union increases household equity ownership. We find a significant increase in the proportion of liquid assets invested in equity, both when a household’s own country adopts the regulation and when other countries adopt the regulation. To directly explore the mechanism through which households’ willingness to directly invest in the equity market increases, we show that the effect of securities regulation is stronger in countries where trust is low and between countries where cultural biases are most pronounced.

REVISION: The Only Prescription is Transparency: The Effect of Charge-Price-Transparency Regulation on Healthcare Prices
Date Posted: Aug  05, 2019
We examine the effect of charge-price-transparency regulation (PTR) — a common policy solution intended to curb rising healthcare costs — on hospitals’ prices. We find that although PTR does not affect payments or consumer search, it does cause hospitals to reduce charges by approximately 5%. The reputational costs of perceived overcharging appear to be one impetus for the reduction in charges, suggesting that certain stakeholders who are able to impose costs on hospitals are unaware that hospitals can decouple charges from payments. The ineffectiveness of PTR policies in reducing payments and the apparent inability of some stakeholders to realize this fact could explain why charge-transparency policies have been widely adopted with little opposition. Overall, our findings provide a cautionary note — transparency regulation focusing on an indicator that can be decoupled from the construct of interest might placate some stakeholders without actually solving the underlying problem.

REVISION: Equity-Market Trading Restrictions and Credit Prices
Date Posted: Feb  27, 2018
We examine how equity-market trading restrictions affect credit prices. Using short-sale constraints (SSCs) as a proxy for trading restrictions, we examine two specific sources of variation — the randomized Regulation SHO experiment and time-series variation in short-selling bans during the 2008 financial crisis. In both analyses, we find that greater SSCs are associated with significantly higher credit-default-swap (CDS) spreads. Changes in the term structure of CDS spreads suggest that this increase is attributable to a decrease in the availability of default-risk-relevant information. Further, using a default-model-prediction framework, we document that it is more difficult to accurately assess default risk when short selling is constrained, which corroborates information risk as a channel through which SSCs lead to higher credit prices.

REVISION: The Real Effects of Mandated Information on Social Responsibility in Financial Reports: Evidence from Mine-Safety Records
Date Posted: Sep  07, 2017
We examine the real effects of mandatory-social-responsibility disclosures, which require SEC-registered mine owners to include their mine-safety records in their financial reports. These safety records are already publicly available elsewhere, which allows us to isolate and estimate the incremental real effects of including this information in financial reports. Comparing mines owned by SEC-registered issuers with mines that are not, we document that including safety records in financial reports decreases mining-related citations and injuries, and reduces labor productivity. Evidence from stock-market reactions and mutual-fund holdings suggests that increased awareness of safety issues is a likely explanation for the observed real effects.

REVISION: The Effect of Equity-Market Frictions on Default-Risk Assessment: Evidence from Short-Sale Constraints around the World
Date Posted: Mar  31, 2017
We examine how equity-market frictions that restrict pessimistic trading, such as short-sale constraints, affect assessments of default risk. We find that these frictions decrease the usefulness of equity-market variables for identifying defaulting firms but increase their usefulness for identifying non-defaulting firms. Accounting information significantly improves the accuracy of default-risk assessments in the presence of pessimistic-trading frictions, particularly where a country’s institutional infrastructure promotes transparent financial reporting. Yet, the net effect of pessimistic-trading frictions is a reduction in the accuracy of default-risk assessments based on publicly available sources of information. Using an exogenous shock, we document that short-sale constraints lead to higher credit spreads. Overall, our results demonstrate a negative externality of equity-market-based pessimistic-trading restrictions on debt markets arising from a reduction of ...

REVISION: Transparency, Liquidity, and Valuation: International Evidence on When Transparency Matters Most
Date Posted: Aug  25, 2016
We examine the relation between firm-level transparency, stock market liquidity, and valuation across a variety of international settings. We document lower transaction costs and greater liquidity (as measured by lower bid-ask spreads and fewer zero-return days) for firms with greater transparency (as measured by less evidence of earnings management, better accounting standards, higher quality auditors, more analyst following and more accurate analyst forecasts). The relation between transparency and liquidity is more pronounced in periods of high volatility, when investor protection, disclosure requirements, and media penetration are poor, and when ownership is more concentrated, suggesting that firm-level transparency matters more when overall investor uncertainty is greater. Increased liquidity is associated with lower implied cost of capital and with higher valuation as measured by Tobin’s Q. Finally, a mediation analysis suggests that liquidity is a significant channel through ...

REVISION: Post-Listing Performance and Private Sector Regulation: The Experience of the AIM
Date Posted: Aug  18, 2016
We investigate the post-listing experience of companies raising capital on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The AIM is unique in that it is privately regulated and relies on Nominated Advisors (Nomads) who compete to bring new listings and provide ongoing regulatory oversight. We find that AIM firms significantly underperform firms on regulated exchanges in terms of post-listing returns and failure rates. The underperformance is similar to that of firms listing on the OTC Bulletin Board prior to SEC regulation. Underperformance is associated with abnormally high pre-listing accruals and post-listing reversals, and is more pronounced for firms raising capital. The choice of a “high quality” auditor or Nomad partially mitigates underperformance, suggesting that AIM firms have a limited ability to bond through commitments to more stringent oversight. Negative returns are particularly pronounced for firms with high proportions of retail investors.

REVISION: Foreign Institutional Ownership and the Global Convergence of Financial Reporting Practices
Date Posted: Aug  18, 2016
This paper investigates whether foreign institutional investors affect the global convergence of financial reporting practices. Using several measures of reporting convergence, we show that U.S. institutional ownership is positively associated with subsequent changes in emerging market firms’ accounting comparability to their U.S. industry peers. We identify this association using an instrumental variable approach that exploits exogenous variation in U.S. institutional investment generated by the JGTRRA Act of 2003. Further, we provide evidence of a specific mechanism — the switch to a Big Four audit firm — through which U.S. institutional investors affect reporting convergence. Finally, we show that, for emerging market firms, an increase in comparability to U.S. firms is associated with an improvement in the properties of foreign analysts' forecasts.

REVISION: Financial Reporting Opacity and Informed Trading by International Institutional Investors
Date Posted: Aug  18, 2016
Using cross-country data on trading by international mutual funds, I find that firms with more opaque information environments, as captured by firm- and country-level measures of the availability of financial reporting information, experience more privately informed trading by institutional investors. The association between firm-level opacity and informed trading is most pronounced where country-level disclosure infrastructures are less developed and for those investors for whom the incentives and opportunities to acquire private information are greatest. A difference-in-differences analysis of the returns earned by institutions in opaque stocks suggests that this information advantage is economically significant.

REVISION: Foreign Institutional Ownership and the Global Convergence of Financial Reporting Practices
Date Posted: Aug  15, 2016
This paper investigates whether foreign institutional investors affect the global convergence of financial reporting practices. Using several measures of reporting convergence, we show that U.S. institutional ownership is positively associated with subsequent changes in emerging market firms’ accounting comparability to their U.S. industry peers. We identify this association using an instrumental variable approach that exploits exogenous variation in U.S. institutional investment generated by the JGTRRA Act of 2003. Further, we provide evidence of a specific mechanism — the switch to a Big Four audit firm — through which U.S. institutional investors affect reporting convergence. Finally, we show that, for emerging market firms, an increase in comparability to U.S. firms is associated with an improvement in the properties of foreign analysts' forecasts.

REVISION: Earnings Comovement and Accounting Comparability: The Effects of Mandatory IFRS Adoption
Date Posted: Aug  15, 2016
We examine changes in cross-country financial statement comparability around mandatory IFRS adoption and the effects of these changes on firms’ information environments, as captured by analyst properties and bid-ask spreads. First, we show that cross-country earnings comovement is negatively associated with favorable properties of the firm-level information environment. In contrast, we show that cross-country accounting comparability is positively associated with favorable properties of the information environment. We further document that, whereas IFRS adoption increased cross-country earnings comovement, it did not increase accounting comparability relative to a control sample of non-adopting firms. Finally, we show directly that the increases in earnings comovement experienced by IFRS adopters have negative effects on firms’ information environments. This finding provides novel evidence that increases in earnings comovement associated with IFRS adoption diminished financial ...

REVISION: Transparency and Liquidity Uncertainty in Crisis Periods
Date Posted: Aug  12, 2016
We document, for a global sample, that firms with greater transparency (based on accounting standards, auditor choice, earnings management, analyst following and forecast accuracy) experience less liquidity volatility, fewer extreme illiquidity events and lower correlations between firm-level liquidity and both market liquidity and market returns. Results are robust to numerous sensitivity analyses, including controls for endogeneity and propensity matching. Results are particularly pronounced during crises, when liquidity variances, covariances and extreme illiquidity events increase substantially, but less so for transparent firms. Finally, liquidity variance, covariance and the frequency of extreme illiquidity events are all negatively correlated with Tobin’s Q.

REVISION: Economic Effects of Transparency in International Equity Markets: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research
Date Posted: Jul  26, 2016
In this paper we discuss the existing accounting literature on the real effects of financial reporting transparency in international equity markets, present aspects of an international setting that make it a fruitful environment for investigating these effects and suggest directions for future research.

REVISION: Listing Choices and Self-Regulation: The Experience of the AIM
Date Posted: Mar  15, 2011
We compare companies listing on the London AIM to regulated exchanges in the US and UK. The AIM is unique in that it is privately-regulated and relies on Nominated Advisors to provide oversight rather than traditional regulators. We find that AIM firms perform poorly on a variety of dimensions. Their post-listing returns significantly underperform stocks on other exchanges. Liquidity is low and there is evidence of substantial information asymmetry. Results are similar across subsets of firms ...