Business, College of


First Advisor

Thomas Omer

Second Advisor

Jimmy Downes

Third Advisor

Dirk Black

Date of this Version

Spring 3-4-2023


Wilson, N,. 2023. Do CEO Gratification Preferences Influence Discretionary Accounting Choices Near Retirement?


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Business (Accountancy), Under the Supervision of Professor Thomas Omer. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2023

Copyright © 2023 Nicholas Eyre Wilson


CEOs near retirement are less motivated to act in shareholders' best interests than those planning to remain indefinitely; this is the horizon problem. Financial reporting that personifies the horizon problem includes an abrupt reduction in discretionary spending and an increase in current accounting earnings; this abrupt change in reporting is potentially detrimental to long-term gains. Gratification preference, defined by observable tendencies, is a personal characteristic reflecting one's prior life experiences and environments. This study offers an archival measure of these gratification preferences and examines whether these preferences mitigate or exacerbate the CEO horizon problem. The results suggest that discretionary accounting choices close to CEO retirement are a function of the proposed measure of CEO gratification preferences.

Advisor: Thomas Omer

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