Corporate Social Responsibility Report Narratives and Analyst Forecast Accuracy
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Standalone corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports vary considerably in content due in part to their voluntary nature and the lack of an accountability framework in CSR reporting. In this study, we develop a CSR disclosure score based on the tone, readability, length, and the numerical and horizon content of the CSR reports’ narratives, and examine the relationship between CSR disclosure scores and analyst forecast accuracy. We find that while CSR reporters with higher disclosure scores are associated with more accurate analyst forecasts, low score CSR reporters do not have better analyst forecast accuracy than firms issuing no CSR reports. In addition, we also find that while improvement in CSR reporting style (tone and readability) has a stronger effect on improving analyst forecast accuracy, increasing the CSR reporting amount (length, numerical content, and horizon content) alone does not have such an effect. Furthermore, we find that disclosure scores of first-time CSR reports have a weaker association with analyst forecast accuracy than disclosure scores of subsequent CSR reports. Together, our findings suggest that better CSR reporting style and commitment to persistent CSR reporting practices play important role in improving analyst forecast accuracy, but simply increasing the quantity of information to be disclosed on CSR reports has little capital market consequences.
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