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Social Capital, Management Earnings Forecasts, Voluntary Disclosure
This paper examines the relationship between the regional variation in social capital in the United States and the propensity and properties of the management earnings forecasts. Social capital refers to connections among individuals–social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them (Putnam 2000). Using a comprehensive sample of companies in the United States, we find that firms located in region with higher social capital are more likely to issue a management earnings forecast and are inclined to forecast more frequently. In addition, earnings forecasts made by those firms tend to be more specific. Our findings suggest that mangers of firms in the high social capital regions are more likely to be concerned about their reputation of providing transparent information regarding their businesses because of the close connections among individuals and the greater propensities to honor obligations. This study contributes to the accounting literature by identifying a non-financial factor (i.e., social capital) that affects management’s voluntary disclosure practices.