An Experimental Investigation of Forward-Looking Non-Financial Performance Disclosures
J. Richard Dietrich
Ohio State University
Steven J. Kachelmeier
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Accounting
Don N. Kleinmuntz
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Thomas J. Linsmeier
Financial Accounting Standards Board
The AICPA's Special Committee on Financial Reporting has urged disclosure of relevant forward-looking and non-financial information to supplement conventional financial statements. We conduct an experiment consisting of 20 laboratory security markets with eight participants each to assess the effects of such disclosures on capital allocation decisions. We observe four markets in each of five accounting information conditions: a baseline condition with an income statement and balance sheet only and four conditions that combine this baseline with supplemental disclosures of proved reserves (a best estimate), total reserves (an upper bound), and minimum reserves (a lower bound). We find first that proved reserve disclosures improve capital allocation decisions, even though these disclosures are redundant with information in the primary financial statements. Second, disclosures of the upper bound (total reserves) in the absence of lower bound (minimum reserves) has the potential to bias security prices upwards, while disclosures of both total and minimum reserves remove this bias. Third, a comparison of individual price predictions to actual market prices reveals both a systematic prediction error and a differential effect of supplemental disclosures on security prices, suggesting that experimental investigations of capital allocation decisions should include market settings. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for accounting standard setters.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
JEL Classification: M41, M45working papers series
Date posted: January 31, 1998
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