We investigate whether managerial traits influence corporate decisions to provide mandatory financial disclosures. The results indicate that firms with confident chief executive officers (CEOs) are 24% more likely to report their research and development (R&D) expenditures relative to firms with cautious CEOs. Exploiting staggered, state-level regulatory shocks and changes in CEO type, we find substantial evidence that cautious CEO firms fail to report R&D expenditures. After a plausibly exogenous shock to managerial reporting liability, cautious CEO firms exhibit a 35% larger reduction in unreported R&D relative to confident CEO firms. Interestingly, confident CEO firms do not exhibit more innovation than their cautious CEO counterparts after taking into account their differing propensities to report corporate R&D. Overall, our analysis suggests that the precision or reliability of mandatory disclosures systematically varies with managerial characteristics.
KOH, P.S., REEB, D.M. and ZHOU, W. (2018). CEO Confidence and Unreported R&D. Management Science, 64(12).