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Earnings minus a charge for the use of capital define this accounting-based performance measure as measured by book value that is in the beginning of period multiplied by the cost of capital. Abnormal or residual earnings hold on the difference market and book values, that is to say, they bear the goodwill of a company. As a matter of fact, a particular parsimonious expression for goodwill is derived from a straight forward two step procedure as it relates to abnormal or residual earnings.Firstly, following Peasnell (1981) and others, the clean surplus relation indicates that goodwill is equal to the present value of future expected abnormal or residual earnings. Secondly, if one further assumes that abnormal or residual earnings comply with an autoregressive process, then it follows that goodwill is equal to abnormal or residual earnings at present scaled by a positive constant. The results emphasize that value can be driven by assuming abnormal or residual earnings processes that make no reference to past or future expected dividends.Not only does owners’ equity accounting subsume the clean surplus relation, it also indicates that dividends reduce book value but leave earnings at present unaffected. This additional feature is exploited to examine the margin effects of dividends on value and on the evolution of accounting data (Modigliani, 1958; Miller, 1961). Market value is displaced by dividends on a dollar for dollar basis, so that dividend payment irrelevancy applies. In addition to that, dividends that paid today impact expected future earnings negatively.


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