Department/School

Accounting

Date of this version

2012

Document Type

Article

Keywords

disclosure frequency, earnings forecasts, accuracy, investor confidence.

Abstract

More frequent financial reporting has been a topic of debate for many years. However, little evidence exists about the possible effects of more frequent reporting on investors’ decision making. Using a between-subjects experiment, this study analyzes how altering the timing or frequency of earnings reports - weekly, as opposed to quarterly reports - affects the accuracy and dispersion of earnings predictions by nonprofessional investors. This is important since regulators have identified nonprofessionals as a significant audience for financial reports. I hypothesize and find that more frequent reporting results in less accurate predictions and greater variance, particularly when a strong seasonal pattern exists. Finally, investors in the more frequent reporting condition self-reported that they were more influenced by older historical data - suggesting primacy effects - while those in the less frequent reporting condition self-reported that they were more influenced by the newer historical data suggesting recency effects.

Published in

Behavioral Research in Accounting

Citation/Other Information

24(1), 91-107.