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.
- 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?