The purpose of this paper is to present a formalisation of the “online transparency” concept in particular firms’ disclosures, employing basic microeconomics. Relevant literature from the accounting, economics and finance fields, along with specific documents regarding micro-simulation as a technique to capture diversity in data sets, is surveyed.
A class of Stone-Geary utility functions is proposed as an analytical tool. A first simulation of public policies is introduced, exploring its impact on corporate firms and their preferences for online disclosure, specifically in Europe. Moreover, the author study corporate firm digital disclosure and compulsory disclosure policy specifically in Europe, exploring whether the size of the firm, country and sector of operation are relevant to explaining the differences in firms’ behaviour and whether these explanatory factors remain after the application of several types of policies.
Quantitative policies, using this denomination to refer to those that directly affect the amounts of money dedicated to online disclosure, or its unitary costs, seem to have a less substantial effect than those that the author could call qualitative policies (stating minimum requirements for all companies or promoting broader scrutiny by means of internationalisation).
These last policies could also be less expensive for public agencies, as the quantitative ones should be supported by some kind of subsidy or tax benefit system. The paper contains certain mathematical assumptions that will need to be relaxed in further works.
Finally, a full research agenda arises from this first attempt, from which both conceptual and methodological lessons can be learned.
This study has been carried out with the financial support of the Spanish National R&D Plan through research project ECO2011-28267 (ECON-FEDER).
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited