ESOPs and Earnings Management: An Empirical Note  - CLEO Skip to main content


This study seeks to ascertain the impact of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) on earnings management. The empirical evidence shows that firms with larger ESOP ownership exhibit a lower degree of earnings management. I suggest that this is the case because ESOPs motivate employees to monitor management, hence, reducing managerial opportunism in the form of earnings management. Besides, ESOPs may act as a takeover defense and help managers take the long-term view of the firm, thus, lessening the motivation for short-term transient earnings distortion. Finally, there is evidence that ESOP ownership alleviates earnings management only in firms where outside blockholders are present.