Corporate donation behavior sends two financial-related signals, i.e. sufficient cash flow and self-confidence in future earnings. This paper aims to investigate whether these financial-related signals released by corporate donation drive investors to make more optimistic forecasts about the firm’s future earnings per share (EPS) and whether this effect varies across different historical earnings trends.
This study is based on a controlled online experiment with 553 MBA students.
The results demonstrate that a financial signaling mechanism works, but it is moderated by historical earnings trends. When the earnings trend is always increasing, the more the number of financial signals received, the higher the investors’ EPS forecast; when the earnings trend is fluctuating (down then up or up then down), investors’ EPS forecast is higher when they receive financial signal(s) than when they do not, but no additive effect occurs from receiving one signal to two signals; when the earnings trend is always decreasing, investors’ EPS forecast is irrelevant to the number of financial signals received.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to experimentally investigate a possible mechanism to explain investors’ positive response to corporate social responsibility (CSR) (specifically, corporate donation) disclosures – the financial signaling mechanism. This study also extends the research on the impact of financial information on investors’ use of nonfinancial information by investigating the moderating role of historical earnings trends on the financial signaling mechanism of the CSR effect.
Yang, N. and Chen, Y. (2022), "Financial signaling mechanism in investor response to corporate donation disclosure: the moderating role of historical earnings trends", Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFRA-03-2022-0081
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