An examination of long-lived asset impairments under SFAS no. 121


Until recently, the impairment of long-lived assets and identifiable intangibles was a controversial and unresolved accounting issue. Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 121 on long-lived asset impairments provides guidelines in selecting the conditions or circumstances that justify or necessitate a writedown and in measuring, recognizing, and disclosing the amounts of asset impairments. The results indicate that the financial impacts of 935 writedowns reported by 670 companies are quite significant and, in some cases, up to 10 times that of reported earnings. Moreover, the results indicate that industry classification consistently had a significant effect on the dependent variables used as proxies for the financial impacts of asset impairments. (JEL M41).

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International Advances in Economic Research