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Disclosure-Disciplining Mechanisms: Capital Markets, Product markets, and Shareholder Litigation, Accounting Review


This paper demonstrates that a firm's trade-offs between reporting good news to reduce the cost of capital and bad news to minimize proprietary costs can induce the firm's manager to provide truthful disclosures when the opposing effects balance each other. We also show that greater proprietary costs can make a firm's disclosures more credible, increase the frequency of voluntary disclosures, and improve the disclosing firm's welfare. Further, we find that potential shareholder litigation can interact with capital and product markets' influences to make voluntary disclosures more credible, but only under certain circumstances. For example, although product market competition can complement the capital market effects in inducing the manager to provide truthful disclosures, shareholder litigation cannot complement the capital market in the same way. Nevertheless, while shareholder litigation can never induce misreporting, a very strong product market influence can prompt a firm to underreport its true economic condition.




John H. Evans, Swaminathan Sridharan

Date Published



Evans, H. John, and Swaminathan Sridharan. 2002. Disclosure-Disciplining Mechanisms: Capital Markets, Product markets, and Shareholder Litigation. Accounting Review. 77(3): 595-626.


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