Mandated Financial Reporting and Corporate Innovation
We investigate the impact of reporting regulation on corporate innovation activity. Exploiting thresholds in Europe’s regulation and a major enforcement reform in Germany, we find that forcing a greater share of firms to publicly disclose their financial statements reduces firms’ innovative activities at the industry level. At the same time, it increases firms’ reliance on patenting to protect their innovations, to the extent they continue innovating. Our evidence is consistent with reporting mandates having significant real effects by imposing proprietary costs on innovative firms, which diminishes their incentives to engage in innovative activities. Importantly, we examine and find that this decline in innovative activity is not fully compensated by positive information spillovers (e.g., to competitors, suppliers, and customers) within industries. Thus, our evidence implies that proprietary costs induced by reporting mandates are important consideration for regulators and policy makers.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26291