Does enhanced disclosure really reduce agency costs? Evidence from the diversion of corporate resources

Pinghsun Huang, Yan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates whether extensive disclosure reduces managerial expropriation of corporate resources by examining the potential effects of enhanced reporting on the values of cash assets and investment ventures, respectively. We uncover evidence that liquid asset holdings are valued at a discount by firms with fewer disclosure practices than their more transparent counterparts. Moreover, disclosure activity substantially improves the value of cash assets in excess of requirements for operations and investment. These findings suggest that detailed reporting facilitates the scrutiny and discipline of capital markets, thus preventing the diversion of cash reserves. In further support of the disciplinary power of greater disclosure, we find that valuedestroying projects, through internal capital investment and external acquisitions, are concentrated in firms adopting opaque disclosure policies. Collectively, our results support the premise that extensive disclosure impairs insiders' abilities to utilize corporate resources in a self-serving manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-229
Number of pages31
JournalAccounting Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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