Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

CEO overconfidence and financial reporting complexity: evidence from textual analysis

List of AuthorsRajabalizadeh Javad


Publication year2023

JournalManagement Decision

Volume number61

Issue number13

Start page356

End page385




Self-archived copy’s web address


Purpose – This study investigates the relationship between the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) overconfidence and financial reporting complexity in Iran, a context characterized by weak corporate governance and heightened managerial discretion.
Design/methodology/approach – The sample consists of 1,445 firm-year observations from 2010 to 2021. CEO overconfidence (CEOOC) is evaluated using an investment-based index, specifically capital expenditures. Financial reporting complexity (Complexity) is measured through textual features, particularly three readability measures (Fog, SMOG and ARI) extracted from annual financial statements. The ordinary least squares (OLS) regression is employed to test the research hypothesis.
Findings – Results suggest that CEOOC is positively related to Complexity, leading to reduced readability.
Additionally, robustness analyses demonstrate that the relationship between CEOOC and Complexity is more distinct and significant for firms with lower profitability than those with higher profitability. This implies that overconfident CEOs in underperforming firms tend to increase complexity. Also, firms with better financial performance present a more positive tone in their annual financial statements, reflecting their superior performance. The findings remain robust to alternative measures of CEOOC and Complexity and are consistent after accounting for endogeneity issues using firm fixed-effects, propensity score matching (PSM), entropy balancing approach and instrumental variables method.
Research limitations/implications – This study adds to the literature by delving into the effect of CEOs’
overconfidence on financial reporting complexity, a facet not thoroughly investigated in prior studies. The paper pioneers the use of textual analysis techniques on Persian texts, marking a unique approach in financial reporting and a first for the Persian language. However, due to the inherent challenges of text mining and feature extraction, the results should be approached with caution.
Practical implications – The insights from this study can guide investors in understanding the potential repercussions of CEOOC on financial reporting complexity. This will assist them in making informed investment decisions and monitoring the financial reporting practices of their invested companies. Policymakers and regulators can also reference this research when formulating policies to enhance financial reporting quality and ensure capital market transparency. The innovative application of textual analysis in this study might spur further research in other languages and contexts.

Originality/value – This research stands as the inaugural study to explore the relationship between CEOs’ overconfidence and financial reporting complexity in both developed and developing capital markets. It thereby broadens the extant literature to include diverse capital market environments.

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Last updated on 2023-20-11 at 08:52