Transparency and Accountability: The Role of Information Disclosure
February 6, 2009
The National Press Club
Tom Lyon of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan,
Michael Toffel of Harvard Business School
& John Mayo of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
Lack of transparency is at the heart of today’s financial crisis, and also complicates global trade. In the U.S., information disclosure represents the newest wave of regulatory approaches in a variety of sectors, including the environment, workplace safety, food safety, and finance.
This is an opportune moment to take stock of what is known about the costs and benefits of information disclosure, what we are learning in today’s cutting-edge research, and where are the remaining gaps in our understanding. This two-part workshop will connect the worlds of practice, policy and scholarship, identifying cross-cutting issues and opportunities that arise in a variety of sectors.
Welcome – John Mayo, Georgetown
Opening keynote speaker – David Weil, Boston University
Panel 1: Information Disclosure Regulations
To what extent are information disclosure regulations delivering their intended results?
How are customers, investors, and other stakeholders responding to the disclosed information?
Chair: Michael Toffel, Harvard
• Jay Shimshack, Tulane U.
• Andres Vinelli, Chief Economist, Office of Research and Analysis, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Panel 2: Voluntary disclosure
What information do firms voluntarily choose to disclose?
Under what circumstances do they disclose?
Chair: Thomas Lyon, U. Michigan
• Zoe Riddell, Vice President, The Carbon Disclosure Project
• Nilmini Rubin, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Panel 3: Disclosure Credibility and Certification
To what extent is corporate information disclosure credible?
Are mechanisms such as third-party verification enhancing its credibility?
Chair: John Mayo
• John Maxwell, U. Western Ontario Click here for slides
• Lori Bird, Senior Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Click here for slides
• Barbara Kipp, Partner, Risk Advisory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Click here for slides
Lunch and Discussion: What else do we need to know about disclosure?
Chair: Andrew King, Dartmouth/Harvard
• Mark Cohen, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
• Pauline Ippolito, Acting Director of the Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Research methods discussion
Chair: Mike Lenox, U. Virginia
• Andrew Daughety, Vanderbilt University: Modeling for non-modelers Click here for slides
• Yue Li, U. Toronto: Empiricism for non-empiricists
• Ronald R. King, Washington University, Experimentalism for non-experimentalists Click here for slides
The following paper sessions examine three federal government disclosure policies.
Paper Session 1: Strategic voluntary disclosure
• Tom Lyon (U. Michigan) and Eun-Hee Kim (U. Michigan) “Greenhouse Gas Reductions or Greenwash?: The DOE’s 1605b Program”
Paper Session 2: Information disclosure regulations
• Hyunhoe Bae (Syracuse), Peter Wilcoxen (Syracuse), David Popp (Syracuse) “Information Disclosure Policy: Do States’ Data Processing Efforts Help More than the Information Disclosure Itself?”
Paper Session 3: Voluntary disclosure and the regulator
• Michael Toffel (Harvard) and Jodi Short (Georgetown) “Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Is Voluntary Disclosure a Signal of Effective Self-Policing?”
Closing remarks – John Mayo, Mike Toffel, Tom Lyon