Title: Bias and non-professional analysts: the role of expectations

Authors: Antonella Russo; Lorenzo Neri; Stefano Guidantoni

Addresses: Department of Business Administration, Parthenope University, 12, Via G. Parisi, 80132, Naples, Italy ' Department of Accountancy and Finance, Business School, University of Greenwich, QA246, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS, UK ' Department of Business Administration, University of Florence, 9, Via delle Pandette, 50127, Florence, Italy

Abstract: The purpose of a financial statement is to assist the analyst to assess businesses in a neutral way, without being influenced by external factors that are not technically relevant to the evaluation process. Otherwise, assessing a company is not a neutral process because the analyst uses his or her cognitive baggage - made up of prejudice, stereotypes and expectations - in the assessment process. These factors enter into the decision-making process and influence assessment (Kahneman and Tversky, 2000). The research hypothesis of this paper is as follows: the decision-making process of financial analysts is influenced by external labels (in this case, the company name) in their evaluation process. The survey has been conducted on university students in an experiment through the submission of questionnaires to verify whether a simple name change affects the way a company is assessed. The responses show that the effect of name recognition has a significant influence on company evaluation.

Keywords: bias; Pygmalion effect; neutrality; decision making process; rationality; expectations; financial statements; financial analysts; company name; name change; name recognition; company evaluation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBAF.2014.067597

International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance, 2014 Vol.4 No.4, pp.290 - 304

Received: 25 Apr 2013
Accepted: 28 May 2014

Published online: 22 Feb 2015 *

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