CSR disclosures and analyst forecast accuracy: does quality matter? An empirical study of whether CSR reporting matters to market participants utilising a novel approach to measure reporting quality

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Abstract: We investigate whether the quality of Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR") report narratives affects analyst forecasts, using a sample of reports issued by companies listed in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Germany between 2012 and 2014. To quantify the quality of CSR narratives, we draw upon advances in Natural Language Processing techniques to construct a score of CSR reporting quality arguing that better reports are easier to read, longer, contain more forward-looking information and are not overly optimistic in tone. The findings presented in this study contribute to current research in two ways: first, we provide indicative evidence that the quality of CSR report narratives matters to market participants. This suggests that further guidance by standard setters for companies on how to construct their CSR reports would be welcomed by investors. Additionally, the study contributes to a developing body of research employing computerised analysis of corporate disclosure narratives.

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