The Real Effects of Mandatory Dissemination of Non-Financial Information through Financial Reports
Abstract: We examine the real effects of mandatory, non-financial disclosures, which require SEC-registered mine owners to disseminate their mine-safety records through their financial reports. These safety records are already publicly available elsewhere, which allows us to examine the incremental effects of disseminating information through financial reports. Comparing mines owned by SEC-registered issuers to those mines that are not, we document that including safety records in financial reports decreases mining-related citations and injuries by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, and reduces labor productivity by approximately 0.9 percent. Additional evidence suggests that increased dissemination, rather than unobservable factors associated with regulatory intervention, drive these effects. We also provide evidence that feedback effects from equity markets are a potential mechanism through which the dissemination of information leads to real effects. Overall, our results illustrate that disseminating non-financial information through financial reports can have real effects—even if the content of that disclosure is already publicly available.
Keywords: Information dissemination, real effects, financial reporting, Dodd-Frank Act, mine safety, corporate social responsibility.