Financial Disclosure Environment and the Cash Policy of Private Firms

Abstract

This paper proposes that private firms facing stronger financial constraints benefit from greater transparency in the financial disclosure environment since it facilitates the estimation of future liquidity needs. I test this idea using a sample of private firms from 12 European countries with similar disclosure regulations for public and private firms. Consistently, I find that private firms hold less cash when they operate in industries with a higher fraction of peers disclosing extended financial reports. Further, I find that the decrease in cash holding is more pronounced in industries with higher cash-deficit risk and for younger firms. These findings are mainly explained by the disclosures of other private peers, which provide a means for learning from firms with similar liquidity constraints.