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What do Firms Disclose and Why? Enforcing Corporate Governance and Transparency in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Law


While specific corporate-governance rules are often controversial, most observers agree on the need to disclose who owns and controls a firm and what governance arrangements are in place. This paper examines such disclosure in a sample of 370 companies listed on stock exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe. The data show widespread non-disclosure of even the most basic elements of corporate-governance arrangements, despite existing regulation. The level of disclosure varies substantially across firms, and there is a strong country effect in what companies disclose. Overall, what is disclosed depends on the legal framework and practice in a given country, but it does not correlate with firms' financial performance. On the other hand, financial performance is strongly related with how easily available the information is to the public. In particular, information is more available in larger firms, firms with lower leverage, higher market-to-book ratios, and more concentrated ownership. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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