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The effect of globalization and legal environment on voluntary disclosure

Author

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  • Webb, Kimberley A.
  • Cahan, Steven F.
  • Sun, Jerry

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Webb, Kimberley A. & Cahan, Steven F. & Sun, Jerry, 2008. "The effect of globalization and legal environment on voluntary disclosure," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 219-245, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:accoun:v:43:y:2008:i:3:p:219-245
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    Cited by:

    1. Carsten Albers & Thomas Günther, 2010. "Disclose or not disclose: determinants of social reporting for STOXX Europe 600 firms," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 323-347, November.
    2. Silvia Gardini & F. Marta L. Di Lascio & Franco Visani, 2017. "How cultural and contextual variables affect the disclosure and transparency of pro-forma indicators," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS41, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    3. repec:eee:advacc:v:31:y:2015:i:1:p:100-106 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:12:p:2413-2424 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Guillamon-Saorin, Encarna & Sousa, Carlos M.P., 2010. "Press release disclosures in Spain and the UK," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-15, February.
    6. Platikanova, Petya & Mattei, Marco Maria, 2016. "Firm geographic dispersion and financial analysts’ forecasts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 71-89.
    7. Thorsten Knauer & Arnt Wöhrmann, 2010. "Rahmenbedingungen, Charakteristika und Konsequenzen freiwilliger Unternehmenspublizität – State of the Art und neue Perspektiven der empirischen Forschung," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 235-254, November.
    8. Céline Gainet, 2010. "Exploring the Impact of Legal Systems and Financial Structure on Corporate Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 195-222, September.
    9. Silvia Gardini & F. Marta L. Di Lascio & Franco Visani, 2017. "Opportunism in disclosing pro-forma indicators: rationale and contextual drivers," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS42, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.

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