The Spread of COVID-19 Disclosure

The Spread of COVID-19 Disclosure

By
David F. Larcker, Bradford Lynch, Brian Tayan, Daniel J. Taylor
Stanford Closer Look Series. Corporate Governance Research Initiative, June
2020

Investors rely on corporate disclosure to make informed decisions about the value of companies they invest in. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to examine disclosure practices of companies relative to peers in real time about a somewhat unprecedented shock that impacted practically every publicly listed company in the United States. We examine how companies respond to such a situation, the choices they make, and how disclosure varies across industries and companies.

We ask:

  • What motivates some companies to be forthcoming about what they are experiencing, while others remain silent?
  • Do differences in disclosure reflect different degrees of certitude about how the virus would impact businesses, or differences in management perception of its obligations to shareholders?
  • What insights will companies learn to prepare for future outlier events?