The Effect of Market Transparency on Corporate Disclosure

59 Pages Posted: 31 May 2019 Last revised: 17 May 2021

Date Written: May 2020


Observable market prices and trading are important information constructs that reveal information to market participants. I study how the observability of market prices and trading (hereafter, “market transparency”) affects firms’ disclosure incentives. I exploit the staggered introduction of TRACE, which made bond prices and transactions publicly observable. I find that firms provide more guidance when their bonds’ prices/trading become observable, suggesting that investors’ access to market information limits managers’ incentives to withhold information. This effect is stronger for firms whose revealed prices contain more new information, and it is more pronounced for the disclosure of bad news. I corroborate my results using (i) a controlled experiment, in which prices/trading were revealed for randomly selected bonds, and also (ii) relevant threshold rules. Together, my results suggest that increased market transparency improves investors’ access to information not only directly, by revealing the information contained in returns/trading, but also indirectly, by increasing corporate disclosure.

Keywords: Market Transparency, TRACE, Corporate Disclosure, Bond Market, Price Observability

JEL Classification: M48, G18, G28, G38, D83

Suggested Citation

Rickmann, Georg, The Effect of Market Transparency on Corporate Disclosure (May 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Georg Rickmann (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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