This study uses experimental data to compare the information generated by professional and nonprofessional investors when both groups receive access to the same financial disclosures. We also manipulate the disclosure level for both subject groups. Using the method developed by Barron, Kim, Lim and Stevens (1998), we then analyze the information contained in stock price forecasts that were made by the experimental subjects. Professionals on average inferred more information than nonprofessionals. The higher level of disclosure did not affect the information possessed by the professional investors. However, we find that a higher level of disclosure is associated with more private information being produced (or inferred) by nonprofessional investors. As a result, these subjects realized a significant improvement in the accuracy of their mean forecasts relative to their individual forecasts. This finding suggests that the enhanced capacity of firms to widely disclose information to all market participants via the Internet, together with the SEC's new “Fair Disclosure (FD)” regulation, has the potential to produce a significant increase in privately inferred information for on-line nonprofessionals, potentially resulting in the aggregation of more diverse information into share prices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)