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Keywords:

  • Public regulatory reform;
  • Private litigation;
  • Continuous disclosure;
  • Management earnings forecasts
  • G14;
  • K22

Abstract

We examine the impact of continuous disclosure regulatory reform on the likelihood, frequency and qualitative characteristics of management earnings forecasts issued in New Zealand’s low private litigation environment. Using a sample of 720 earnings forecasts issued by 94 firms listed on the New Zealand Exchange before and after the reform (1999–2005), we provide strong evidence of significant changes in forecasting behaviour in the post-reform period. Specifically, firms were more likely to issue earnings forecasts to pre-empt earnings announcements and, in contrast to findings in other legal settings, those earnings forecasts exhibited higher frequency and improved qualitative characteristics (better precision and accuracy). An important implication of our findings is that public regulatory reforms may have a greater benefit in a low private litigation environment and thus add to the global debate about the effectiveness of alternative public regulatory reforms of corporate requirements.