SYNOPSIS: In this paper, we provide a framework in which to view management earnings forecasts. Specifically, we categorize earnings forecasts as having three components—antecedents, characteristics, and consequences—that roughly correspond to the timeline associated with an earnings forecast. By evaluating management earnings forecast research within the context of this framework, we render three conclusions. First, forecast characteristics appear to be the least understood component of earnings forecasts—both in terms of theory and empirical research—even though it is the component over which managers have the most control. Second, much of the prior research focuses on how one forecast antecedent or characteristic influences forecast consequences and does not study potential interactions among the three components. Third, much of the prior research ignores the iterative nature of management earnings forecasts—that is, forecast consequences of the current period influence antecedents and chosen characteristics in subsequent periods. Implications for researchers, educators, managers, investors, and regulators are provided.

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