هزینه های انسانی آشکار داوطلبانه و ارزش سهام شرکت: آیا اطلاعات سرمایه انسانی ارزشمند هست؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18470||2005||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Volume 14, Issue 2, 2005, Pages 121–138
This study examines the market value relevance of labor cost voluntary disclosures using a valuation model relating firm market values to book values of equity and to disclosed human capital information, such as labor costs, net pension liabilities (NPLs), and estimated average and marginal labor productivity and efficiency indicators. Results indicate that labor cost disclosing companies command higher equity market values in general, and that labor productivity and efficiency measures appear to be undervalued. Both findings suggest that there might be market opportunities for firms with valuable human capital to differentiate themselves from their industry peers, which might encourage further human capital disclosure in the future. More refined measures of human capital assets and investments are needed to assess firms’ human resource management decisions and performance impacts in the capital markets more adequately.
There has been a growing and continuing debate in the accountancy profession about the need to have transparent, concise, and comparable financial information disclosures regarding human capital-related accounting issues, such as executive and employee stock-based compensation and pension, and post-retirement benefits data.2 Given its voluntary disclosure, human resource information in North America is currently non-standardized, scattered throughout firms’ annual reports, and thus difficult to synthesize. Labor costs represent an important component of human capital valuation at both the firm and market levels (e.g., Becker, 1993 and Rosett, 2001). With increased business complexities, accounting profits might not give an accurate picture of a company's financial health and growth prospects (e.g., Sherman, Young, & Collingwood, 2003) and disaggregated information (such as labor costs and employee compensation) might be warranted in the future if it can be shown that incremental information value is gained by disclosing such detailed human resource information.3 Accounting research in intangible assets valuation and measurement, including human capital-related disclosures such as executive compensation and pension arrangements, has increased in the past few years (e.g., Amir, 1996; Ballester, Livnat, & Sinha, 2002, Collett, 2002; Landry & Callimaci, 2003). Among the reasons for the increased interest in human capital-related information are the pressing requests from investors, financial analysts, and other accounting information users to adequately account for the potentially expense increasing employee stock-based compensation and the funded status of the pension funds since they both would affect current and future firm performance, growth prospects, and ultimately, the way the firm's net earnings are distributed among different stakeholders. A second reason is that human and organizational capital seems to be taking an increasing importance in the new knowledge-based economy. Most companies across different industries, particularly industries that rely on human capital assets to generate earnings (such as the computer software and the financial services industries) are expected to compete on those knowledge grounds. Therefore, more adequate information disclosure about the efficiency and effectiveness of human resource management (e.g., Flamholtz, 1971) and human capital investments within the firms could be a potentially valuable piece of information in the future. Thus, the current study extends prior related literature by offering an alternative and complementary approach to measuring and assessing human capital investments and performance effects on firm valuation that relies not only on aggregate labor costs disclosures but also on derived firm-level marginal productivity, and efficiency measures following a labor economics approach (e.g., Becker, 1993). To the best of our knowledge, no study in the prior literature has followed such an approach. The primary objective of this study is to examine the association between firm equity (market) values and human capital proxies, such as disclosed labor costs and estimated labor productivity and efficiency indicators. Therefore, we focus in the current study on the market valuation aspects of human capital-related accounting information rather than the determinants (or incentives) for voluntarily disclosing such information (e.g., labor costs), which has been fairly well documented in prior studies (e.g., Ballester et al., 2002; Deegan & Hallam, 1991). Unlike many European countries, North American companies disclose labor costs4 information publicly in their financial statements on a voluntary basis. Less than 10% of publicly listed firms on the U.S. exchanges consistently disclose labor and related costs as a separate item in their financial reports (Ballester et al., 2002). The information on labor costs is usually implicitly incorporated into other financial statement items such as “cost of goods sold” and “general and administrative expenses” and ultimately enters the net income calculation. By including labor costs disclosures and other productivity measures (computed and estimated from both labor costs disclosing and non-disclosing firms) into an accounting valuation model, we attempt to analyze the relative contributions of labor costs voluntary disclosures and other related human capital non-financial measures (e.g., labor productivity and efficiency) in explaining cross-sectional variation in firm market values, thus testing the value relevance of such disclosures. Results indicate that higher labor costs are significantly and positively related to equity market values. The difference between the value marginal product of labor and average labor costs, which we refer to as labor-efficiency indicator (LEI), might be more relevant than productivity figures alone for market valuation purposes since it might potentially indicate whether management has been efficient in hiring and extracting value from additional employees. Results from this study suggest that firm market values do not seem to be positively associated with higher marginal productivity and managerial efficiency in labor use, thus suggesting that human capital-intensive firms could be undervalued in the capital markets. The remainder of this paper proceeds as follows: Section 2 briefly describes the regulatory framework for labor-related cost disclosures in North America and outlines related prior research. Section 3 develops the research design and valuation models and Section 4 presents the results and discusses their implications. Section 5 summarizes and concludes with suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study extends prior literature on human capital reporting, measurement and market valuation impacts by considering both financial data, namely disclosed labor costs and non-financial-type human capital indicators, such as labor productivity and efficiency, following a labor economics approach. More specifically, this paper examines the association between firm equity market values and human capital-related information such as labor costs voluntary disclosures, average and estimated marginal productivity of labor, and managerial efficiency in labor-use-efficiency indicators. Results indicate that as expected, the relationship between labor cost disclosures and the market value of equity is positive and significant, suggesting that investors view labor costs as a rough proxy to human capital investments and do incorporate that information into their firm valuation processes. However, we find that the market becomes “myopic” when other measures of human capital are considered, such as productivity and efficiency indicators, since we find a negative and sometimes significant impact of these variables on firm equity values. Although this latter result could be justified on the basis of the “undervaluation syndrome” identified in prior intangibles valuation studies (Lev, 2004), it is nevertheless intriguing and deserves more research attention in the future. To the extent that human capital-performance indicators could potentially signal more skilled workforce and efficient human resource management inside the firm, there might be an opportunity for firms with high-quality human capital to differentiate themselves from their peers in the industry (e.g., Akerlof, 1970) given the information asymmetries present in the capital markets. From an investor's perspective, our results suggest that companies with valuable intangible human capital assets, particularly in terms of higher productivity and efficiency, may be undervalued in the stock market and possibly unfairly discounted, thus suggesting that there might be investment opportunities for such companies that are not fully realized. Finally, an important implication of our findings relates to the insufficiency of labor costs data in explaining and measuring cross-sectional human capital-performance indicators, and thus the need to develop more refined measures to capture this intellectual capital component both at the firm managerial level and at the market level. To that end, research at the interface of economics and labor economics, accounting, and finance could be fruitful and insightful. Also, more disaggregated firm-level data about labor costs, employee training costs, and employee turnover could provide a useful research database in the future. Such human resource management information would help researchers, analysts, and investors examine more rigorously, the impacts of human capital-related performance measures on firm valuation and investor-perceived benefits of human capital asset values, particularly for knowledge-based industries such as the computer software and the financial services industries. The controversial question of whether labor costs disclosure should be mandatory or remain largely voluntary in North America is still an open research question for both academics and regulatory bodies, and might be addressed within the current debates about related reporting issues such as stock-based compensation and pension accounting. Unless the potential benefits of disclosing labor-related expenses significantly outweigh the costs, labor costs as an aggregate measure of human capital assets will remain largely disclosed at management's discretion, i.e., voluntarily. More research in measuring, reporting, and auditing human capital and other intellectual capital assets is needed in the future to shed more light on the importance of both financial and non-financial performance measures and examine their informational value in the capital markets. International accounting standard setting bodies and their North American counterparts’ (e.g., FASB) convergence efforts and debates might provide a good starting point in that direction.