DP14678 Do corporate disclosures constrain strategic analyst behavior?

Author(s): Yen-Cheng Chang, Alexander P. Ljungqvist, Kevin Tseng
Publication Date: April 2020
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Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14678

We show that U.S. analysts alter their forecasting behavior in response to a randomly assigned shock that exogenously varies the timeliness and cost of accessing companies' mandatory disclosures in the cross-section of investors: analysts reduce the number of stocks they cover, issue less optimistic and more accurate forecasts that are less bold, and collectively reduce forecast dispersion. Our investigation of possible channels favors the explanation that analysts reduce the strategic component of their behavior: the changes are more pronounced among analysts with stronger incentives to strategically skew their forecasts, such as affiliated analysts and those catering to retail investors. We conclude that mandatory disclosure is a substitute for information production by analysts, whose behavior is constrained by investors' ability to verify their forecasts using corporate filings.