Does Trade Globalization Induce or Inhibit Corporate Transparency? Unbundling the Growth Potential and Product Market Competition Channels

59 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2012

See all articles by Hui Tong

Hui Tong

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Shang-Jin Wei

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); International Monetary Fund (IMF); Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

How does increasing globalization affect corporate transparency? Freer trade represents two facets and in theory has ambiguous effects on corporate transparency. On the one hand, by exposing firms to more product market competition, it could discourage discretionary disclosure. On the other hand, by opening up foreign markets and enhancing firms’ growth opportunities, it may promote more transparency. Rather than simply estimating a net effect, this paper pursues an approach that allows separate estimation of the two potentially opposing channels. We employ three different measures of corporate transparency and track their evolutions for 4061 firms in 49 countries during 1992-2005. By using detailed product-level tariff schedules for these countries, we construct a measure of growth opportunities enabled by foreign tariff liberalizations at the sector-country-year level, and a second measure of globalization-induced product market competition based on a country’s own tariff liberalization (again at the sector--country-year level). We find strong evidence that higher growth opportunities engendered by globalization promotes corporate transparency, especially in industries that depend heavily on external financing. At the same time, we find somewhat weaker evidence that greater product market competition engendered by globalization discourages corporate transparency. The results demonstrate the importance of disentangling the multiple and potentially conflicting effects of globalization.

Keywords: disclosure, globalization, trade liberalisation, transparency

JEL Classification: G3

Suggested Citation

Tong, Hui and Wei, Shang-Jin, Does Trade Globalization Induce or Inhibit Corporate Transparency? Unbundling the Growth Potential and Product Market Competition Channels (February 2012). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8836. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2013827

Hui Tong (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Shang-Jin Wei

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Beijing, 100084
China

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