Tick Size and Financial Reporting Quality in Small-Cap Firms: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
55 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 2020
Using a natural experiment (the SEC’s 2016 Tick Size Pilot Program), we investigate the effects of an increase in tick size on financial reporting quality. The tick size pilot program reduces algorithmic trading and increases fundamental investors’ information acquisition and trading activities. This in turn increases the scrutiny of managers’ financial reporting choices and reduces their incentives to engage in misreporting. Using a difference-in-differences research design, we find a significant decrease in the magnitude of discretionary accruals, a significant reduction in the likelihood of just meeting or beating analysts’ forecasts, and a marginally significant decrease in restatements for the treated firms in the pilot program. Furthermore, we find that the change in financial reporting quality is concentrated in treated firms experiencing decreases in algorithmic trading and increases in information acquisition activities. We also find that the mispricing of accruals is significantly lower for treated firms. Taken together, our results suggest that an increase in tick size has a causal effect on firms’ financial reporting quality.
Keywords: Tick size pilot program; Financial reporting quality; Information acquisition
JEL Classification: M40; M41; G12; G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation