ABSTRACT: Empirical research on the impact of managerial retirement on discretionary accounting choices is inconclusive, with most studies finding no evidence of earnings management in the pre‐retirement period. I argue that income‐increasing accounting choices in final pre‐retirement years are particularly appealing to managers whose pension depends on firm performance in these years. Using primary data on retired CEOs of Fortune 1000 firms, I investigate the impact of CEO pension plans on discretionary accruals. Consistent with the prediction, I find evidence of income‐increasing earnings management in the pre‐retirement period only when CEO pension is based on firm performance. I also report evidence of negative abnormal market reaction to CEO retirement in firms with performance‐contingent CEO pensions.

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