Do Higher Value Firms Voluntarily Disclose More Information? Evidence from China
52 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 22, 2013
This paper examines the effect of guanxi on the relation between firm value and voluntary disclosure of information about new investment projects in China’s institutional setting. We find a negative relation between firm value and voluntary disclosure for firms that rely more heavily on guanxi in their value creation (e.g. non-high-tech firms, and firms located in regions with underdeveloped institutions). This type of firms refrains from detailed voluntary disclosures for fear of revealing sensitive information that may harm their guanxi. They may more incline to use guanxi to lower information asymmetry and the cost of capital. Therefore, they have less motivation of voluntary disclosure. By contrast, for firms that rely less heavily on guanxi and more on other sources of core competencies (e.g. high-tech firms, and firms in high-marketization regions), we find a positive relation between firm value and voluntary disclosure. This type of firms more replies on voluntary disclosure to reduce information asymmetry and financing cost. Such incentives are particularly strong for high value firms. The moderating role of guanxi on the relation between firm value and voluntary disclosure is explained by firms conscientiously balancing the costs and benefits of voluntary disclosure relative to guanxi. Our evidence has implications for research on motives for disclosure and regulation of financial reporting.
Keywords: Firm value, voluntary disclosure, information asymmetry, guanxi, China
JEL Classification: G32, M41
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