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Keywords:

  • cost of capital;
  • disclosure;
  • discretionary accruals

Abstract:  Theory suggests a negative relationship between disclosure and the cost of capital. However, empirical research has not, in general, confirmed this. In particular, Botosan (1997) finds no evidence of a negative relationship for firms with a high analyst following, and moreover, Botosan and Plumlee (2002a) find that firms’ cost of capital increases with timely disclosures. There are several possible explanations for this puzzle. First, the theory-driven hypothesis may be false and require re-specification. Second, there may be correlated omitted variables contaminating the results. Finally, these inconclusive results may have arisen due to problems with the measurement of disclosure. We construct an innovative measure of timely disclosure, that attempts to capture quality rather than quantity of strategic disclosures. In addition, motivated by new theoretical research by Gietzmann and Trombetta (2003), we control for a possible omitted variable, namely accounting policy choice. With this revised research design, we find the expected negative relationship. Furthermore, as predicted by Gietzmann and Trombetta, this relationship is only significant for firms adopting aggressive accounting policies.