Disclosing the Books: Evidence on Swedish publicly listed firms' accounting disclosure practices

  • Datum: 22 maj, kl. 13.15
  • Plats: Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10C, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Vural, Derya
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Företagsekonomiska institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Vural, Derya
  • Disputation


Disclosure of accounting information is crucial in facilitating efficient contracts in the publicly listed firm and in reducing information asymmetries in capital markets. A well-known perception in disclosure literature is that, as the separation between managers and owners increases, so does the demand for publicly available disclosure. Many publicly listed firms around the world are controlled by a few large owners that obtain information through their insider positions in the firm. Thus, variations in ownership structures have a considerable effect on how firms’ disclosure practices are resolved. Despite the increased attention paid to the identity of controlling owners and their influence on financial reporting practices, little is known about how owner types and governance mechanisms influence corporate disclosures and capital-market effects. This thesis contributes to the disclosure literature by studying a context in which controlling owners have a large influence on the governance and disclosure practices of firms. This contrasts with the much-studied setting in which management influences the governance and reporting decisions of firms. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to examine the determinants and capital-market effects of Swedish listed firms’ annual report disclosure.

This thesis uses a self-constructed disclosure index from manually gathered data from the annual reports of Swedish publicly listed firms during the years 2001 to 2013. This includes information on the notes to the financial statements, corporate governance and strategy. The findings of the four empirical studies show that the ownership structure of firms and the various contractual relationships that firms are engaged in, drive the disclosure practices. Additionally, the results indicate that higher levels of disclosure decrease information asymmetries between capital-market participants and increase trading activity. However, the findings also show that firms with controlling owners are less forthcoming with disclosure, even after a new disclosure reform. Considering the large influence of controlling owners in the studied context, these are important findings in the research field and in regulators’ processes of deriving disclosure regulation. The thesis concludes that the variety in firms’ disclosure incentives and local governance structures are important disclosure determinants to understand in framing international accounting standards.