Number of Numbers: Does Quantitative Disclosure Reduce Information Risk?

Date
2021
Authors
Campbell, John
Zheng, Xin
Zhou, Dexin
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Abstract
Theoretical research argues that numbers convey more precise information than words. Based on this work, we hypothesize that when managers provide disclosure with a greater proportion of quantitative information, information risk will decrease and firm value will increase. We offer three main findings. First, after controlling for the cash flow news in earnings conference calls, we find a positive association between the extent of hard information (i.e., numerical disclosure) and short-window stock returns around the call. This result suggests that information risk decreases when managers provide greater numerical disclosure. Second, we find that this positive association is larger when firms’ information environment is otherwise poor. Finally, we find that this positive association is larger when uncertainty about firm performance is higher (i.e., when the firm issues a negative earnings surprise). Overall, our results suggest that investors react to the extent of hard information (i.e., numerical disclosure) in earnings conference calls.
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Keywords
Quantitative Disclosure, Numerical Information, Earnings Conference Calls, Voluntary Disclosure, Textual Analysis
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