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Understanding cost behavior is a fundamental element of cost accounting and the management of a firm. Deviating from the traditional assumption of symmetric cost behavior, numerous recent research studies show that costs are sticky, that is, they decrease less when sales fall than they increase when sales rise. Beginning with Anderson et al. , accounting research explains this observation in terms of an alternative model in which costs arise due to deliberate adjustment decisions made by managers. When activity declines, forward-looking managers balance adjustment costs against those of temporarily keeping idle capacity, in order to maximize the long-term value of the firm. Additionally, self-interested managers are affected by different incentives, such as status considerations, which induce them to omit or delay reasonable resource reductions. A wide range of accounting research studies builds on this alternative model and addresses different characteristics and implications of sticky cost behavior. This doctoral thesis contributes to the field of research on cost stickiness in three distinct ways.
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