Corporate Websites: A New Measure of Voluntary Disclosure

51 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021

See all articles by Romain Boulland

Romain Boulland

ESSEC Business School

Thomas Bourveau

Columbia Business School - Accounting, Business Law & Taxation

Matthias Breuer

Columbia University

Date Written: July 26, 2019

Abstract

We construct a new measure of voluntary disclosure based on firms’ websites. Using the Wayback Machine, we create a standardized measure of disclosure capturing the quantity of information on firms’ websites. We validate our measure by documenting that it is positively associated with established measures of firms’ voluntary disclosure and liquidity. Importantly, we document that our measure, while correlated with established disclosure measures, is not subsumed by those measures. It complements existing measures in three important ways. First, our measure captures not only capital-market-related but also additional information geared toward stakeholders other than investors (e.g., customers). Secondly, our measure can be calculated for a broader sample of firms, including small, private, and international firms. Lastly, our measure can be customized to fit the specific research question at hand (e.g., ESG disclosures) via textual analysis of website content.

Keywords: Internet, Websites, Communication, Disclosure, ESG

Suggested Citation

Boulland, Romain and Bourveau, Thomas and Breuer, Matthias, Corporate Websites: A New Measure of Voluntary Disclosure (July 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3816623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3816623

Romain Boulland

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY
CERGY, CERGY PONTOISE CEDEX 95021
France

Thomas Bourveau

Columbia Business School - Accounting, Business Law & Taxation ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Matthias Breuer (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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