Dynamic Effects of Information Disclosure on Investment Efficiency
Posted: 15 Sep 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
This paper studies how information disclosure affects investment efficiency and investor welfare in a dynamic setting in which a firm makes sequential investments to adjust its capital stock over time. We show that the effects of accounting disclosures on investment efficiency and investor welfare crucially depend on whether such disclosures convey information about the firm's future capital stock (i.e., balance sheet) or about its future operating cash flows (i.e., earnings). Specifically, investment efficiency and investor welfare unambiguously increase in the precision of disclosures that convey information about the future capital stock, since such disclosures mitigate the current owners' incentives to under-invest. In contrast, when accounting reports provide information about future cash flows, the firm can have incentives to either under- or over-invest depending on the precision of accounting reports and the expected growth in demand. For such disclosures, investment efficiency and investor welfare are maximized by an intermediate level of precision. The two types of accounting disclosures act as substitutes in that the precision of capital stock disclosures that maximizes investment efficiency (and investor welfare) decreases as cash flow disclosures become more informative and vice versa.
Keywords: investment; information disclosure; real effects; welfare
JEL Classification: D92; E22; G31; M41
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