Review of Accounting Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 59-88

First online:

Analysts’ accrual-related over-optimism: do analyst characteristics play a role?

  • Michael S. DrakeAffiliated withFisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
  • , Linda A. MyersAffiliated withSam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas Email author 

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Bradshaw et al. (J Acc Res 39:45–74, 2001) find that analyst forecast over-optimism is greater for firms with high accruals. This “accrual-related over-optimism” is generally interpreted as evidence that analyst forecasts do not fully incorporate predictable earnings reversals associated with high accruals. We investigate whether analyst experience, access to resources (brokerage size), and portfolio complexity moderate the relation between over-optimistic forecasts and high accruals. We demonstrate the robustness of accrual-related over-optimism to controls for cash flow and prior forecast errors. We find that accrual-related over-optimism is lower for analysts with greater general experience and for analysts following fewer firms but find only limited evidence of lower accrual-related over-optimism for analysts from larger brokerages and for analysts following fewer industries.


Analyst forecasts Analyst experience Brokerage size Analyst optimism Working capital accruals

JEL Classification

G10 M41