Government Procurement and Changes in Firm Transparency

55 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2018

See all articles by Delphine Samuels

Delphine Samuels

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA)

Date Written: June 15, 2018


The government monitors its suppliers’ internal information processes to reduce uncertainty about the suppliers’ ability to fulfill their commitments. In this paper, I argue that these monitoring procedures improve the suppliers’ internal information, which in turn leads to higher quality external reporting. Using a dataset of U.S. government contracts, I find a positive relation between government contract awards and the quality of firms’ external reporting environment. Consistent with government monitoring of internal information processes driving this relation, I find that firms improve their external reporting when they first begin contracting with the government, and that the magnitude of the improvement varies predictably with contract characteristics that entail a greater degree of government scrutiny. Finally, I use the establishment of the Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) in 1970 as an exogenous shock to contractor monitoring, and find greater improvements in the external reporting environment among firms affected by the CASB’s monitoring requirements. Overall, these results suggest that monitoring by the government as a customer plays a role in shaping the firm’s information environment.

Keywords: government procurement, information environment, internal information processes

JEL Classification: D82, D83, G14, H57, M41, M48

Suggested Citation

Samuels, Delphine, Government Procurement and Changes in Firm Transparency (June 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Delphine Samuels (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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