Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales

Investor relation internet disclosure and the cost of equity capital : an empirical analysis

Froidevaux, Ewa A ; Pasquier-Dorthe, Jacques (Dir.) ; Bui, Tung X. (Codir.)

Thèse de doctorat : Université de Fribourg, 2004.

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    This dissertation contributes to the academic literature by examining two issues in relation to corporate Internet disclosure. First, we make a detailed content analysis of the investor relation section on the Web sites of US companies to gain insight into the type and amount of information provided to investors on corporate Web sites and to establish a measure of the Internet disclosure level. We find that companies are not exploiting the full potential of this disclosure medium. In a second study, we examine the relation between the cost of equity capital and the disclosure level of information in the investor relation section of corporate Web sites. We regress the cost of equity capital, obtained from a comprehensive discounted cash flow model, on the disclosure measure from the content analysis study to examine the relationship between these two variables. For a cross-sectional sample of 141 non-financial US companies, we find a negative and highly significant association between the cost of equity capital and level of Internet investor relation disclosure. The results remain significant after controlling for potentially influential variables such as different risk characteristics and firm size. The results indicate thus that Internet disclosure is useful to investors.