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By Roberta Romano

The present technique towards U.S. securities legislation by means of the Securities and alternate fee might be made over by way of enforcing a regime of aggressive federalism.

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Extra resources for The Advantage of Competitive Federalism for Securities

Example text

First, we do not know whether the SEC allocated more resources to investigating exempt issues than to investigating registered issues, an altogether plausible possibility given the SEC’s agenda at the time— extending its disclosure requirements to small firms exempt from its regulation. Such an enforcement policy would make it impossible to draw any conclusion concerning relative rates of fraud from the data. And, of course, the initiation of an investigation does not mean that fraud actually occurred.

Dye’s model thus highlights the heavy burden Fox’s position would place on a regulator. The regulator has to be able to estimate the impact that information will have on the returns of the disclosing firm and all other firms to implement the optimal mandatory disclosure policy, which would include prohibiting disclosures, such as the plant expansion example, that are of importance to investors but harm competitors. Without question, firms have stronger incentives to disclose voluntarily information that takes the form of a negative, rather than positive, externality.

If a piece of information entails an externality such that it increases competitors’ value at the expense of the disclosing firm, then the disclosure of such information must cause a price effect, not a variance effect. That is the definition of an interfirm externality: it affects the value of other firms. Greater accuracy of pricing does not affect firms’ cash flows. Hence, a reduction in the variance of returns does not indicate that the information released in segment reporting involves interfirm externalities.

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