Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Accounting

First Advisor

Paul E. Fischer

Second Advisor

Christopher S. Armstrong

Abstract

I examine whether public firms’ financial reporting has spillover effects on the amount and efficiency of other public firms’ investment and quantify the relative importance of these indirect spillover effects vis-à-vis the direct effects due to firms’ own financial reporting. Spillover effects are important for understanding (i) how financial reporting affects corporate investment, which is fundamental for generating firm value and macroeconomic growth, and (ii) whether positive externalities are a meaningful economic justification for financial reporting regulation. The primary empirical challenge for studying spillovers is that every public firm not only discloses its own financial report, but also simultaneously benefits from spillovers from other firms’ financial reports, making it difficult to disentangle the observed combination of direct and spillover effects. I overcome this challenge by structurally estimating a model that links firms’ financial reporting and investment, which I use to decompose the effect of financial reporting into its direct and spillover components. I examine the effect of financial reporting on aggregate output from the public corporate sector’s investment, which combines the effects on both the amount and efficiency of investment, and estimate that a significant portion—roughly half of the total effect of financial reporting and a quarter of the marginal effect of an incremental change in financial reporting precision—is due to spillover effects. This evidence suggests that spillovers constitute a meaningful benefit of financial reporting for a wide range of public firms.

Embargoed

Available to all on Saturday, June 10, 2023

Included in

Accounting Commons

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