Multiple Audiences and Corporate Disclosure
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This study contributes to literature in three ways: first, it draws a full picture about the determinants of a firm's voluntary disclosure decision; second, it aims at tackling the mixed results found about the relation between competition and disclosure; and third, it shows evidence that it is possible that a firm would change its disclosure behaviors across time. The examination is based on the concept that management's communication could reach out to multiple audiences. While a firm could be concerned about the responses from investors and competitors when deciding disclosure-or-not, union and government could also come into consideration. In addition, how the concern about competitors would affect a firm's voluntary disclosure could depend on different interpretations about competition. Whether a firm is thinking of the abnormal profit that it has earned or the cost advantage that it has possessed, different interpretations about competition result in different predictions about the relation between competition and disclosure, and this could have caused mixed results in previous studies. Measuring a firm's disclosure level by the number of information items disclosed within a year, I found that a firm would disclose less in the face of a union's bargaining power and the litigation threat from outside blockholders. Such concerns are even more salient when it comes to revealing proprietary information. In addition, I found that a larger firm would disclose more information about itself, proprietary or not. Higher incentives for a large firm to give more information might come from both demand and supply of information about it. Furthermore, after controlling for other factors, I only found evidence that supports the argument that less competition (in the sense of market power) would cause less disclosure. The results did not, however, show that a firm facing more competition (in the sense of barriers to entry) would choose to disclose less. Finally, the findings also indicated that a firm's disclosure policy could be not as "sticky" as claimed in previous studies, especially when it comes to disclosing proprietary information. A firm might change its attitudes towards disclosure in the face of different political environment.