There is ambiguity regarding whether coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a boon or bane for the IT services industry. On the one hand, it has created opportunities, especially with the growth of collaborative technologies. On the other hand, many firms have reduced their IT budgets owing to the ongoing recession. This study explores how IT firms have assessed the risk of the pandemic in the early days and informed capital market participants. In addition, it examines the impact of such online disclosures on information asymmetry.
The authors analysed annual reports of publicly listed firms in the USA filed on the Securities and Exchange Commission website in 2020 and examined whether the disclosure scenario of technology firms was different from that of the other industries. Moreover, the risk sentiment of COVID-19-related disclosures was assessed by employing text analytics. Information asymmetry was measured using the bid–ask spread.
Overall, it was found that IT services firms were less likely to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in their annual reports. Interestingly, it was observed that technology firms that chose to communicate about the pandemic had a lower incidence of words related to risks. Furthermore, communicating about COVID-19 in annual reports calms investors and improves the information asymmetry situation about the firm. Variation in the severity of the pandemic and the responses of state governments was controlled for by employing state-fixed effects in the empirical models.
The authors inform the literature on corporate disclosures and technology and highlight the importance of effectively communicating about the pandemic.
The authors are thankful to Dr. Rajendra Srivastava for the Seekedgar Search Facility.
Majumdar, A. and Singh, P. (2023), "Analysis and impact of COVID-19 disclosures: is IT-services different from others?", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 123 No. 1, pp. 345-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-04-2021-0239
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