The Forward-looking Disclosures of Corporate Managers: Theory and Evidence
IWH Discussion Papers,
We consider an infinitely repeated game in which a privately informed, long-lived manager raises funds from short-lived investors in order to finance a project. The manager can signal project quality to investors by making a (possibly costly) forward-looking disclosure about her project’s potential for success. We find that if the manager’s disclosures are costly, she will never release forward-looking statements that do not convey information to external investors. Furthermore, managers of firms that are transparent and face significant disclosure-related costs will refrain from forward-looking disclosures. In contrast, managers of opaque and profitable firms will follow a policy of accurate disclosures. To test our findings empirically, we devise an index that captures the quantity of forward-looking disclosures in public firms’ 10-K reports, and relate it to multiple firm characteristics. For opaque firms, our index is positively correlated with a firm’s profitability and financing needs. For transparent firms, there is only a weak relation between our index and firm fundamentals. Furthermore, the overall level of forward-looking disclosures declined significantly between 2001 and 2009, possibly as a result of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Equity Home Bias and Corporate Disclosure
Journal of International Money and Finance,
I show that more comprehensive corporate disclosure reduces investors’ uncertainty about domestic companies’ payoffs at no cost, thereby decreasing investors’ equity home bias toward a country. Since investors should base their investment decisions on valid and easily interpretable company information only, more comprehensive disclosure will reduce the home bias only if domestic securities law is sufficiently stratified and domestic companies use international accounting standards. Using panel data for 38 countries from 2003 to 2008 I find that more comprehensive disclosure reduces investors’ home bias, though significantly only for countries that sufficiently enforce their securities law and implement international accounting standards.