Between a Rock and a Hard Place: New Evidence on the Relationship between Ownership and Voluntary Disclosure

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

T2 - New Evidence on the Relationship between Ownership and Voluntary Disclosure

AU - Jankensgård, Håkan

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Combining two Swedish databases with unique strengths I show empirically that stray firms, i.e. those lacking a controlling owner, have lower voluntary disclosure in financial reports (that is, information provided beyond what is formally required). This suggests managers prefer to withhold information to maximize their discretion over corporate policies. I also show that disclosure initially increases with block ownership, reflecting increased incentives to monitor and stronger governance. However, when block ownership exceeds a certain threshold level (>50%), disclosure starts to decrease, reflecting another conflict of interest, namely between minority and controlling owners. Evidence of this non-linear relationship is novel in the literature and may account for the mixed evidence in previous research. Moreover, I report findings on the impact of institutional, foreign, under-diversified, and controlling minority-owners, concluding that ownership structure has major implications for voluntary disclosure.

AB - Combining two Swedish databases with unique strengths I show empirically that stray firms, i.e. those lacking a controlling owner, have lower voluntary disclosure in financial reports (that is, information provided beyond what is formally required). This suggests managers prefer to withhold information to maximize their discretion over corporate policies. I also show that disclosure initially increases with block ownership, reflecting increased incentives to monitor and stronger governance. However, when block ownership exceeds a certain threshold level (>50%), disclosure starts to decrease, reflecting another conflict of interest, namely between minority and controlling owners. Evidence of this non-linear relationship is novel in the literature and may account for the mixed evidence in previous research. Moreover, I report findings on the impact of institutional, foreign, under-diversified, and controlling minority-owners, concluding that ownership structure has major implications for voluntary disclosure.

KW - voluntary disclosure

KW - ownership

KW - monitoring

KW - agency costs

KW - block ownership

KW - G30

KW - G32

U2 - 10.1016/j.irfa.2017.09.009

DO - 10.1016/j.irfa.2017.09.009

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 281

EP - 291

JO - International Review of Financial Analysis

JF - International Review of Financial Analysis

SN - 1057-5219

ER -