This paper explores whether the political and contracting environments for listed and unlisted companies gives rise to different wealth incentives for management to judiciously select a portfolio of accounting procedures for the firm. The analysis indicates significant differences in the method choices made by the managers of listed and unlisted firms. For the listed firms, size as a proxy for political costs is negatively related to portfolio choice, supporting the political cost hypothesis. In addition, leverage and directors' percentage ownership are positively related to portfolio choice and thus support the debt contracting cost hypothesis. In contrast, none of the contracting or political cost variables are significantly related to the choice of accounting method portfolio by unlisted firms. Overall the evidence provides some support for the positive accounting hypothesis that firms choose income strategies.
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