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The effect of globalization and legal environment on voluntary disclosure

  • Webb, Kimberley A.
  • Cahan, Steven F.
  • Sun, Jerry
Registered author(s):

    We examine how interactions with foreign capital, product, and labor markets affect the disclosure practices of non-U.S. multinational firms. Drawing on literature related to multinationals, country-level legal institutions, and accounting disclosures, we expect that the relation between globalization and voluntary disclosure will be conditioned by the legal environment in a firm's home country. Specifically, while firms from countries with a strong legal environment (e.g., common-law countries) already face pressure for good disclosure, globalization can increase the benefits associated with good disclosure to firms from weak legal environments (e.g., civil-law countries). We use a self-constructed voluntary disclosure index and hand-collected disclosure and foreign activity data for 643 non-U.S. firms from 30 countries for 2003. We find a significant interaction between globalization and the legal environment. This indicates that for the same level of globalization, there is more voluntary disclosure for firms based in weak legal environments. Our results suggest that globalization is an important variable that has been overlooked in much of the previous cross-country research.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The International Journal of Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 43 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 219-245

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:accoun:v:43:y:2008:i:3:p:219-245
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620179

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