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The effect of the specificity of the risk disclosure language on investors' risk and credibility judgments

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Title: The effect of the specificity of the risk disclosure language on investors' risk and credibility judgments
Author(s): Arikan, Ozlem
Director of Research: Jackson, Kevin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Jackson, Kevin
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Hobson, Jessen; Shavitt, Sharon; Smith, Steven
Department / Program: Accountancy
Discipline: Accountancy
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Risk disclosure nonprofessional investors judgment and decision making risk judgments credibility judgments narrative disclosures
Abstract: Companies use different formats in their risk disclosures in their annual and quarterly reports, as well as in their prospectuses. Some companies specifically disclose the nature of their risks by identifying the parties or circumstances that comprise the source of risk. Conversely, other companies use more generic language to convey risk. I predict and find that investors perceive risk to be more likely to adversely affect a company when it is disclosed in a more specific way rather than in a less specific way. However, I also predict and find that when investors have some prior knowledge about the risk, this effect is mitigated. Finally, after the risk is realized, I find that investors have lower credibility judgments for managers who use less specific language in their risk disclosures than ones who use more specific language when they are aware of another level of specificity. I also find some evidence that participants infer that managers are signaling the importance or triviality of a risk factor through the choice of disclosure specificity. This study contributes to our understanding of how investors react to different disclosure formats and highlights to the preparers of accounting disclosures the importance of their choice of specificity levels, and also has important implications for regulators.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34569
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Ozlem Arikan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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