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Labor Union and Linguistic Attributes in Firm Disclosure

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Title:Labor Union and Linguistic Attributes in Firm Disclosure
Authors:Iris Jiarui Zhang
Keywords:labor union
voluntary disclosure
conference calls
linguistic attributes
content analysis
Date Issued:29 Aug 2019
Abstract:Little research examines managers’ language itself in the presence of labor unions, especially using a rich communication channel such as earnings conference calls. By disentangling the two latent components of linguistic complexity (i.e. information and obfuscation) using conference call transcripts, I find that firms with stronger labor unions tend to disclose less information and, surprisingly, employ less obfuscation. However, the negative relation between obfuscation and union strength is driven by the loss firms subsample, indicating that the strategic obfuscation of negative news is less likely for firms with a powerful labor union in order to be forthcoming about negative information to gain bargaining power. Furthermore, I document that unionized firms tend to disclose less forward-looking information, and use more negative words in their narratives. This study provides a comprehensive view on the nuanced linguistic styles and contents via which firms react to labor unions.
Appears in Collections: 12 Financial: Labor Unions/Political Connections/Equity Valuation

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