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Differential Interpretation of Public Information: Estimation and Inference

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  • Xuguang Sheng
  • Maya Thevenot

Abstract

We propose a new measure of differential interpretation in the context of a Bayesian learning model, which allows us to abstract from other sources of disagreement, such as differences in priors. We then develop a likelihood ratio statistic for testing the null hypothesis that agents interpret public information identically. Using financial analysts’ earnings forecasts, we find evidence that there is significant heterogeneity in the interpretation of public information among investors. In addition, we validate our new measure of differential interpretation and demonstrate its superiority over other proxies, such as Kandel and Pearson’s (1995) and Garfinkel’s (2009) metrics. Finally, we find that differential interpretation increases firm cost of capital, which has important implications to regulators, managers and academics.

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File URL: http://american.edu/cas/economics/research/upload/2013-3.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-03.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2013-03

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Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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  1. Orie Barron & Xuguang Sheng & Maya Thevenot, 2013. "Information Environment and The Cost of Capital," Working Papers 2013-003, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
  2. Peter D. Easton & Gregory A. Sommers, 2007. "Effect of Analysts' Optimism on Estimates of the Expected Rate of Return Implied by Earnings Forecasts," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(5), pages 983-1015, December.
  3. Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2002. "What Drives Firm-Level Stock Returns?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 233-264, 02.
  4. Edwin J. Elton, 1999. "Presidential Address: Expected Return, Realized Return, and Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1199-1220, 08.
  5. Handa, Puneet & Schwartz, Robert & Tiwari, Ashish, 2003. "Quote setting and price formation in an order driven market," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 461-489, August.
  6. David Easley & Maureen O'hara, 2004. "Information and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1553-1583, 08.
  7. Timothy C. Johnson, 2004. "Forecast Dispersion and the Cross Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 1957-1978, October.
  8. Robert Bloomfield & Paul E. Fischer, 2011. "Disagreement and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 41-68, 03.
  9. Doukas, John A. & Kim, Chansog (Francis) & Pantzalis, Christos, 2006. "Divergence of Opinion and Equity Returns," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 573-606, September.
  10. Jon A. Garfinkel, 2009. "Measuring Investors' Opinion Divergence," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 1317-1348, December.
  11. Sheng, Xuguang & Thevenot, Maya, 2012. "A new measure of earnings forecast uncertainty," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 21-33.
  12. Tkac, Paula A., 1999. "A Trading Volume Benchmark: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 89-114, March.
  13. Easley, David & Hvidkjaer, Soeren & O’Hara, Maureen, 2010. "Factoring Information into Returns," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(02), pages 293-309, April.
  14. Abarbanell, Jeffery S. & Lanen, William N. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1995. "Analysts' forecasts as proxies for investor beliefs in empirical research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 31-60, July.
  15. George, Thomas J & Kaul, Gautam & Nimalendran, M, 1991. "Estimation of the Bid-Ask Spread and Its Components: A New Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(4), pages 623-56.
  16. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-68, September.
  17. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D, 1995. "Differential Interpretation of Public Signals and Trade in Speculative Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 831-72, August.
  18. Lahiri, Kajal & Sheng, Xuguang, 2008. "Evolution of forecast disagreement in a Bayesian learning model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 325-340, June.
  19. Jon A. Garfinkel & Jonathan Sokobin, 2006. "Volume, Opinion Divergence, and Returns: A Study of Post-Earnings Announcement Drift," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 85-112, 03.
  20. Christopher S. Armstrong & John E. Core & Daniel J. Taylor & Robert E. Verrecchia, 2011. "When Does Information Asymmetry Affect the Cost of Capital?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 1-40, 03.
  21. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  22. Eugene Kandel & Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, 1999. "Differential Interpretation Of Information In Inflation Forecasts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 217-226, May.
  23. Bamber, Linda Smith & Barron, Orie E. & Stober, Thomas L., 1999. "Differential Interpretations and Trading Volume," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 369-386, September.
  24. Rowland K. Atiase & Bipin B. Ajinkya & Alex K. Dontoh & Michael J. Gift, 2011. "The Fundamental Determinants Of Trading Volume Reaction To Financial Information: Evidence And Implications For Empirical Capital Market Research," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association & Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 34(1), pages 61-101, 03.
  25. Benston, George J. & Hagerman, Robert L., 1974. "Determinants of bid-asked spreads in the over-the-counter market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 353-364, December.
  26. Karl B. Diether & Christopher J. Malloy & Anna Scherbina, 2002. "Differences of Opinion and the Cross Section of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2113-2141, October.
  27. Petersen, Mitchell A. & Fialkowski, David, 1994. "Posted versus effective spreads *1: Good prices or bad quotes?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 269-292, June.
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