Samuel Burton Bonsall

Color portrait of Samuel Burton Bonsall

Associate Professor

Department Accounting
Office Address 373 Business Building
Phone Number 814-865-4572
Email Address

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Professor Sam Bonsall is an Associate Professor of Accounting at Penn State University. He previously held positions as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Accounting at the Ohio State University from 2012–2017. Professor Bonsall’s research has focused on the role of credit rating agencies as information intermediaries and how their economic incentives shape their behavior. Professor Bonsall has published his research in The Accounting Review, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, the Journal of Accounting Research, the Review of Accounting Studies, Contemporary Accounting Research, and Management Science. Professor Bonsall teaches advanced financial accounting in Penn State’s Integrated Master of Accounting Program and introductory programming for accounting doctoral students. Prior to graduate school, Professor Bonsall worked as a senior consultant at Bates White LLC in Washington, DC, providing expert witness support in civil litigation matters—including Enron’s bankruptcy. Professor Bonsall graduated with his PhD from Penn State University in 2012 and with his B.S. and M.S. from Penn State University in 2004.


Credit rating agencies
Debt markets
Textual analysis
Business media


Ph D, Accounting, The Pennsylvania State University, 2012

MS, Accounting, The Pennsylvania State University, 2004

BS, Economics, The Pennsylvania State University, 2004

Courses Taught

ACCTG 590 – Colloquium (1)
Continuing seminars which consist of a series of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers.

ACCTG 873 – Adv Acct Rep (3)
Financial disclosure and reporting for complex business enterprises and activities; current issues in financial reporting.

Selected Publications

Ahn M., Bonsall S. B., Van Buskirk A., "Asymmetric disclosure to credit rating agencies." Review of Accounting Studies, 2019.
Bonsall S. B., Joseph C., Muller K. A., "State Pension Accounting Estimates and Strong Public Unions." Contemporary Accounting Research, 2018.
Bonsall S. B., Green J., Muller K. A., "Are Credit Ratings More Rigorous for Widely Covered Firms?." ACCOUNTING REVIEW, vol. 93, no. 6, 2018, pp. 61-94.
Bonsall S. B., Leone A. J., Miller B. P., Rennekamp K., "A plain English measure of financial reporting readability." JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTING & ECONOMICS, vol. 63, 2017, pp. 329-357.
Bonsall S. B., Koharki K., Watson L., "Deciphering Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Credit Rating Disagreements." CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTING RESEARCH, vol. 34, no. 2, 2017, pp. 818-848.
Bonsall S. B., Holzman E. R., Miller B. P., "Managerial Ability and Credit Risk Assessment." MANAGEMENT SCIENCE, vol. 63, no. 5, 2017, pp. 1425-1449.
Bonsall S. B., Miller B. P., "The impact of narrative disclosure readability on bond ratings and the cost of debt." REVIEW OF ACCOUNTING STUDIES, vol. 22, no. 2, 2017, pp. 608-643.
Bonsall S. B., Koharki K., Neamtiu M., "When Do Differences in Credit Rating Methodologies Matter? Evidence from High Information Uncertainty Borrowers." ACCOUNTING REVIEW, vol. 92, no. 4, 2017, pp. 53-79.
Bonsall S. B., Koharki K., Neamtiu M., "The Effectiveness of Credit Rating Agency Monitoring: Evidence from Asset Securitizations." ACCOUNTING REVIEW, vol. 90, no. 5, 2015, pp. 1779-1810.
Bonsall S. B., "The impact of issuer-pay on corporate bond rating properties: Evidence from Moody's and S&P's initial adoptions." JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTING & ECONOMICS, vol. 57, 2014, pp. 89-109.
Alissa W., Bonsall S. B., Koharki K., Penn, Michael W., Jr., "Firms' use of accounting discretion to influence their credit ratings." JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTING & ECONOMICS, vol. 55, 2013, pp. 129-147.
Bonsall S. B., Bozanic Z., Fischer P. E., "What Do Management Earnings Forecasts Convey About the Macroeconomy?." JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTING RESEARCH, vol. 51, no. 2, 2013, pp. 225-266.

Research Impact and Media Mention

"Earnings Bode Ill for Stocks", The Wall Street Journal, Newspaper