Date of Degree

9-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor

Edward X. Li

Advisor

Min Shen

Committee Members

Donal Byard

Karl Lang

Jihwon Park

Subject Categories

Accounting

Keywords

Transparency Policy, Financial Misconduct, Monitoring

Abstract

Exploiting the staggered state freedom of information act (FOIA) reform, I study how public transparency policy is related to private-sector financial misconduct. I posit that an effective public transparency policy deters corporate financial misconduct by (1) enhancing external monitoring on firms in the short run by making more accessible public records related to firms, and (2) improving firms’ operational environment in the long run through cultivating a more ethical local culture. I find evidence in support of this deterrent effect. In particular, I find evidence consistent with the enhanced monitoring channel that the prompt decrease in corporate financial misconduct is more pronounced for firms closely tied to state governments and firms with greater institutional ownership. I also find that the long-term effect of public transparency policy is stronger in states with a higher corruption level, consistent with the culture cultivation channel for limiting corporate financial misconduct. Overall, my study provides novel evidence on the impact of public-sector transparency policy on private-sector financial reporting behaviors.

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