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How Cheap Is Corporate Talk? Comparing Companies’ Comments on Regulations With Their Securities Disclosures

August 2017

Citation: ELR 10681

Author: James W. Coleman

When a public company describes the impact of a proposed regulation it must consider two audiences: regulators and investors. These conflicting incentives may lead to inconsistent messages. Oil companies facing costly regulations tailor their messages to each audience, emphasizing the cost and economic danger of regulation to regulators while telling shareholders that regulation is merely a cost of doing business with few negative impacts. The findings of the article suggest that environmental regulators should monitor corporate securities disclosures to ensure that they are given an accurate picture of the true regulatory risk they may be imposing on companies.

James Coleman is Assistant Professor at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

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