Do Mandatory Hedge Disclosures Discourage or Encourage Excessive Speculation?

Authors


Abstract

In order to shed some light on the desirability of hedge disclosures, I investigate the consequences of hedge disclosures on a firm’s risk management strategy. Several major results emerge from this analysis. First, greater transparency about a firm’s derivative activities is not necessarily a panacea for imprudent risk management strategies. I show that such transparency actually induces the firm to take excessive speculative positions in the derivative market. Second, I show that the firm may choose a prudent risk management strategy in the absence of hedge disclosures. However, the selection of a prudent risk management comes at a cost. The firm’s production policy is distorted in the absence of hedge disclosures.

These findings suggest that regulators must carefully investigate the trade-offs between production distortions and risk management distortions in evaluating the desirability of mandatory hedge disclosures for all firms.

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