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The Real Costs of Disclosure

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  • Alex Edmans
  • Mirko Heinle
  • Chong Huang

Abstract

This paper models the effect of disclosure on real investment. We show that, even if the act of disclosure is costless, a high-disclosure policy can be costly. Some information ("soft") cannot be disclosed. Increased disclosure of "hard" information augments absolute information and reduces the cost of capital. However, by distorting the relative amounts of hard and soft information, increased disclosure induces the manager to improve hard information at the expense of soft, e.g. by cutting investment. Investment depends on asset pricing variables such as investors' liquidity shocks; disclosure depends (non-monotonically) on corporate finance variables such as growth opportunities and the manager's horizon. Even if a low disclosure policy is optimal to induce investment, the manager may be unable to commit to it. If hard information turns out to be good, he will disclose it regardless of the preannounced policy. Government intervention to cap disclosure can create value, in contrast to common calls to increase disclosure.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19420.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19420

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  1. Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized versus Hierarchical Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 1891-1921, October.
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  9. Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Weisbach, Michael S., 2009. "Information Disclosure and Corporate Governance," Working Paper Series 2008-17, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
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  11. Fishman, Michael J & Hagerty, Kathleen M, 1990. "The Optimal Amount of Discretion to Allow in Disclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 427-44, May.
  12. Diamond, Douglas W, 1985. " Optimal Release of Information by Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1071-94, September.
  13. Charles Kahn & Andrew Winton, 1998. "Ownership Structure, Speculation, and Shareholder Intervention," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 99-129, 02.
  14. Dye, Ronald A., 2001. "An evaluation of "essays on disclosure" and the disclosure literature in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 181-235, December.
  15. Dye, Ronald A, 1986. "Proprietary and Nonproprietary Disclosures," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 331-66, April.
  16. Verrecchia, Robert E., 1983. "Discretionary disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 179-194, April.
  17. Diamond, Douglas W & Verrecchia, Robert E, 1991. " Disclosure, Liquidity, and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1325-59, September.
  18. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-69, November.
  19. Beyer, Anne & Cohen, Daniel A. & Lys, Thomas Z. & Walther, Beverly R., 2010. "The financial reporting environment: Review of the recent literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 296-343, December.
  20. Boyan Jovanovic, 1982. "Truthful Disclosure of Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 36-44, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Claudio Loderer & René Stulz & Urs Waelchli, 2013. "Limited Managerial Attention and Corporate Aging," NBER Working Papers 19428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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