Information Leaks and Voluntary Disclosure

34 Pages Posted: 13 May 2019

See all articles by Michael Ebert

Michael Ebert

University of Paderborn

Ulrich Schäfer

University of Zurich

Georg Thomas Schneider

University of Graz; University of Graz

Date Written: April 13, 2019


We study firms’ voluntary disclosures in a world of potential information leaks. We find that managers adapt their disclosure strategy to the likelihood and expected scope of leaks. An increasing likelihood fosters voluntary disclosure if leaks merely expose the manager’s information endowment and impedes disclosure if leaks in addition uncover the content of the manager’s information. We identify a non-monotonic effect on voluntary disclosure if the scope of information leakage is uncertain, i.e., if leaks reveal the information content with positive probability. Our results imply that information leaks are likely to increase voluntary disclosure whenever investors have difficulties interpreting the economic consequences of the leaked information. This is typically the case in industries with complex business models and innovative products. In mature industries, leaked information replaces voluntary disclosure. Our findings may help explaining mixed empirical evidence on voluntary disclosure in different reporting environments.

Keywords: voluntary disclosure, information leakage, information endowment, market transparency

JEL Classification: M41, G14, D82, C02

Suggested Citation

Ebert, Michael and Schäfer, Ulrich and Schneider, Georg Thomas and Schneider, Georg Thomas, Information Leaks and Voluntary Disclosure (April 13, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Michael Ebert

University of Paderborn ( email )

Warburger Str. 100
Paderborn, D-33098

Ulrich Schäfer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, CH-8032
+41446345684 (Phone)


Georg Thomas Schneider

University of Graz ( email )


University of Graz ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 15/G1
Graz, 8010

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