Infoscience

Thesis

Three Essays on Corporate Disclosure

Corporate disclosure is the most important source of information about the firm for the outside investors. While some disclosure of public firms is mandated by regulation, firm managers can provide extra information at their discretion by making voluntary disclosures. On the other hand, even the reports required by regulation can be disclosed untruthfully. This thesis is structured in three chapters, each addressing a specific issue in voluntary disclosure and misreporting. In the first chapter, titled ``Voluntary Disclosure and Informed Trading'', I study the impact of informed trading on voluntary corporate disclosure in the presence of two frictions: cost of disclosure and value of manager's information. In the absence of both frictions, informed trading has no impact on disclosure even when traders are not certain whether the manager has information. If disclosure is costly, then informed trading reduces disclosure. Since traders can discover favorable information about the firm, additional disclosure of the information is not necessary. If manager's information is valuable for the firm, then informed trading increases disclosure. Since traders can discover unfavorable information about the firm, the manager with such information has less incentives to pool with uninformed managers and discloses to show that he is informed. I also show that informed trading can have both a positive and a negative real effect on the firm value by crowding in or crowding out information production in the firm. These results hold for general information structures and are robust if traders can choose how much information to acquire. The second chapter, titled ``Misreporting and Feedback Effect'' and co-authored with Prof. Hui Chen of the University of Zurich, studies the incentives of firms to misreport information in the presence of feedback effect from financial markets. Stock price often provides firms with new information, which can be used in the firms' subsequent real decisions. We examine how this informational feedback from the financial market affects a myopic firm manager's incentive to misreport, and how the misreporting further affects the firm's price and value. We find that the manager overstates his report more in the presence of feedback, but this misreporting brings forth both positive price and real effects for the firm. Intuitively, overstating the report encourages information production in the market because (a) it renders accounting reports less reliable as a source of information, and (b) investors expect higher trading profits from larger capital investment. The new incremental information improves investment efficiency when it is revealed to the firm manager through trading and used in the firm's subsequent investment decisions. As a consequence, the capital investment is higher when there is feedback effect. In the third chapter, titled ``Voluntary Disclosure and Margin Constraints'', I develop a dynamic model of voluntary corporate disclosure that explains clustering of negative announcements observed in practice. A manager may receive a signal about the firm's asset value and can disclose it to traders with margin constraints. I show that the manager postpones delivery of a negative signal until the margin constraints tighten. In contrast to previous studies, the clustering of announcements happens even if there are no negative updates in traders' beliefs about the firm value.

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