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Repetitive disclosures in the MD&A

Heather Li

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2019, vol. 46, issue 9-10, 1063-1096

Abstract: This study is the first to empirically analyze repetitive disclosures in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) section of the 10‐K filing. Repetitive disclosures refer to the extent that content in the MD&A is repeated from the audited financial statement notes. I empirically analyze repetitive disclosures in the MD&A section of the 10‐K filing, and find that firms tend to use more repetitive disclosures when firms have a new CEO, a high level of new disclosures in the notes, issued equity, and have missed the prior year's earnings benchmark. These findings suggest that not all managers use repetitive disclosures to simply obfuscate disclosures. Rather, some managers use repetitive disclosures to emphasize firm‐specific events, consistent with the succession hypothesis. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) states that repetitive disclosures are uninformative and that such disclosures decrease the informativeness of other disclosures in the MD&A. Casting doubt on the SEC's comments, in my primary analyses, I find that repetitive disclosures are informative to investors; this result is stronger for individual investors. Overall, my results suggest that repetitive disclosures are informative, and such disclosures may be effective tools for providing information to investors.

Date: 2019
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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