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When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
This dissertation examines the role of corporate communication as a governance mechanism and investigates the impact of firms’ engagement in investor relations and stakeholder communication (IRSC) activities on the cost of new financing. Both corporate communications and the cost of capital have been a concern for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners.
The first essay examines whether corporate communication is a stand-alone governance mechanism. Corporate communication is measured by length, dictionary, and communication index. Using content analysis techniques, we find that firms’ communication has governing powers as we show that negative deviation from the expected transparency is associated with negative changes in Tobin’s Q, confirming the disciplinary role of corporate communications. Moreover, our findings confirm the substitution-complementary relationship between corporate communication and board size, independence, education, expertise, CEO duality, frequency of board meetings, gender diversity, institutional ownership, and product market competition. We also find that communication has a non-linear association with Tobin’s Q and firm’s risk, pointing to the existence of an optimum point in communications. Results are robust when controlling for major corporate events (M&A, Spin-offs, Financial distress and bankruptcy, and major lawsuits).
The second essay examines whether firms’ engagement in IRSC activities reduces the cost of information asymmetry at the time of external financing considering the intermediary role of the existing level of firm transparency and the financing source (debt vs equity). The measures of IRSC initiatives are frequency of press releases, frequency of events (meetings, conferences, industry gatherings, and investment bank seminars), the ratio of question and answer to the length of events, the average length of answers, and the frequency of slides used in events. We find that press frequency and the portion of question and answer in events have a significant and positive relationship with the cost of financing, while event frequency and the average length of answers have a negative association with the cost of financing. Multivariate multiple regression analyses (seemingly unrelated regression models) show that these findings are more pronounced for firms that have low transparency and plan to issue equity compared to firms of high transparency and those with debt issues.