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Factors explaining the level of voluntary human capital disclosure in the Brazilian capital market

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Purpose: This paper presents a study on factors explaining the level of voluntary human capital information in companies with shares in the Brazilian stock exchange. Assuming the existence of information asymmetry between managers and shareholders, agency theory states that disclosure might lead to a reduction in agency costs. The proprietary costs theory indicates that information disclosure might increase the company’s costs. According to these theories, the likelihood that the managers will voluntarily disclose information depends on certain factors that are characteristic of the company. Understanding the disclosure of information regarding intangible assets, specifically human capital, has strategic relevance for enterprises because these features, although not always recorded in accounting, represent a competitive business edge in the current economy. Design/methodology/approach: The study examined 145 annual reports, representing 29 companies in the period of 2005-2009. The level of voluntary disclosure was determined through content analysis of annual reports using representative indicators of human capital information. Findings: The statistical results indicate that factors such as size, debt, growth and time of registration with the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission explain the level of voluntary human capital disclosure of the companies studied. Originality/value: An important contribution of this research is the formulation and non-repudiation of the time of registration with the CVM hypothesis as a factor that explains the level of human capital disclosure because none of the revised studies have tested this hypothesis.



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