Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/195691
Authors: 
Riley, Jennifer
Taylor, Eileen
Year of Publication: 
2018
Citation: 
[Journal:] International Journal of Financial Studies [ISSN:] 2227-7072 [Volume:] 6 [Year:] 2018 [Issue:] 1 [Pages:] 1-17
Abstract: 
In this paper, we examine whether the readability of different types of corporate risk disclosures influences the risk judgments of nonprofessional investors. Our study contributes evidence to the Security and Exchange Commission's ongoing initiative to improve corporate financial statement disclosures. Using 359 responses from an experimental survey of nonprofessional investors (NPIs), we find that readability, in conjunction with risk factor type, significantly influences investors' judgments of probability and size of economic loss, cause for worry, and overall risk. NPIs judged the risk from an industry-related risk factor (competition) to be higher when written in plain English, but judged the risk of a company-specific risk factor (internal control weakness over financial reporting) to be higher when written in a less readable format (i.e., legalese). We found no significant differences in judgments between plain English and less readable language on a combined industry/company risk factor, information security. Results suggest that a move to plain English for all types of risk factors may have consequences that are not fully understood or expected. This area needs further research before regulators enact (or enforce) mandates for risk factors to be presented in plain English.
Subjects: 
plain English
readability
risk factor disclosures
item 1a
nonprofessional investors
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Creative Commons License: 
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Document Type: 
Article
Social Media Mentions:

Files in This Item:
File
Size
599.65 kB





Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.