Beaver (1968) Revisited: Has the Information Content of Annual Earnings Announcements Declined in the Past Three Decades?
38 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2000
Date Written: May 2001
In 1968, Beaver published his seminal paper on the information content of earnings announcements, establishing that both trading volume and return volatility increase at the time of earnings announcements. Thirty-some years after Beaver's study, concerns have been raised about a perceived degradation in the informativeness of earnings because of the increasing availability of timely non-accounting information and the increasing rate of technological innovation and change not reflected in the accounting system in a timely manner.
In this paper we examine changes over the past thirty years in the information content of earnings using the two metrics from Beaver (1968): abnormal trading volume and volatility. In contrast to the conventional wisdom, we find no evidence of a decline in the informativeness of accounting information over the past thirty years, as measured by both abnormal trading volume and return volatility around quarterly earnings announcements. If anything, our results suggest an increase over time in the informativeness of quarterly earnings announcements. Variables reflecting changes in firm-specific factors account for a portion of the observed increase.
JEL Classification: M41, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation