Journal article

Does government report readability matter? Evidence from market reactions to AAERs

Yu Flora Kuang, Gladys Lee, Bo Qin

Journal of Accounting and Public Policy | Elsevier | Published : 2020


We investigate whether market reactions to Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases (AAERs) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) vary with different levels of readability in the AAERs. After controlling for the complexity of an AAER report and the severity of the enforcement case, we find that when the AAER is more difficult to read, with readability measured based on the directives of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, markets react more negatively to the AAER announcement. Cross-sectional tests indicate that the effect of AAER readability is attenuated by investor sophistication and firm visibility, whereas the effect is more pronounced when AAER firms are exposed to greate..

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