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Economic Consequences of the Declining Relevance of Financial Reports

Posted: 4 Mar 2008  

Nishi Sinha

Analysis Group

John S. Watts

Ernst & Young LLP

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The proliferation of alternative information sources has reduced the relevance of corporate annual reports. This paper examines economic outcomes in an oligopolistic industry as investors become better informed but financial reports convey a smaller portion of the total information. Results show that an increase in alternate sources of information, and the resulting decline in relevance of financial reports, leads to a loss in economic efficiency despite the presence of additional information. Investors benefit, but at the expense of consumers and social welfare. Investors benefit not necessarily because the amount of information in the economy increases, but because there is a change in the channels through which the same information is communicated.

Keywords: relevance, financial reports, valuation

JEL Classification: D43, D81, G11, L13, M41, M45

Suggested Citation

Sinha , Nishi and Watts, John S., Economic Consequences of the Declining Relevance of Financial Reports. Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 39, No. 3, December 2001. Available at SSRN: or

Nishi Sinha (Contact Author)

Analysis Group ( email )

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Boston, MA 02199
United States
2025502040 (Phone)

John S. Watts

Ernst & Young LLP ( email )

1225 Connecticut Ave NW # 700
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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