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Unintended consequences of information regulation: An analysis of three natural experiments

21st National Competition for Economic Research Grants (2022)

Economic analysis

Senior Researcher : Jacobo Gómez Conde

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.


Information disclosure disciplines managers' behaviors as well as adjusts their incentives and agendas. Although this evidence is robust, in this project I intend to analyze how it may have some unintended or even undesired consequences.

I use three different natural laboratories to analyze how regulate information can have unintended consequences. The first one refers to a recent change in international financial reporting standards on revenue recognition (IFRS 15). In this case, I argue a potential positive effect of these changes. Given the debate and resistance to the implementation of this standard, noting the potential benefits of changes to information systems that enable efficiency improvements (e.g., customer, supply chain or inventory management) is a matter of interest. The second is a 2014 European Directive regulating non-financial information. This supranational regulation, with transpositions at the country level, has the focus on the disclosure of information and on the internal measurement and management of environmental, social and governance resources that companies control. This management control must be carried out by information systems that the literature clearly indicates encourage innovation. Since these systems are mandatory, they are not adapted to the company's context, at least in the first years of adjustment. The unintended consequence of the Directive is the reduction in eco-innovative products, given the rigidity generated by these systems. The third is a natural laboratory in a context of high competitiveness and external pressure, such as the Formula 1 championship. In 2016, the amount and type of information that the driver received by radio during the race was regulated. While this regulation of the information received by the user was intended to reduce the incentives to manage the race and increase competitiveness, the potential unintended effect is the increase of risks for the driver and the distractions generated (e.g., when teams use signs in the pit areas).


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