EDGAR on the internet: The welfare effects of wider information distribution in an experimental market for risky assets

David Bodoff, Hugo Levecq, Hongtao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policies such as the SEC's Fair Disclosure Rule, and technologies such as SEC EDGAR, aim to disseminate corporate disclosures to a wider audience of investors in risky assets. In this study, we adopt an experimental approach to measure whether this wider disclosure is beneficial to these investors. Price-clearing equilibrium models based on utility maximization and non-revealing and fully-revealing prices predict that in a pure exchange economy, an arbitrary trader would prefer that no investors are informed rather than all are informed; non-revealing theory further predicts that an arbitrary trader would prefer a situation in which all traders are informed rather than half the traders are informed. These predictions can be summarized as "None > All > Half". A laboratory study was conducted to test these predictions. Where previous studies have largely focused on information dissemination and its effects on equilibrium price and insider profits, we focus instead on traders' expected utility, as measured by their preferences for markets in which none, half, or all traders are informed. Our experimental result contradicts the prediction and indicates "Half > None > All", i.e. subjects favor a situation where a random half is informed. The implication is that in addition to testing predictions of price equilibrium, experiments should also be used to verify analytical welfare predictions of expected utility under different policy choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-381
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment The work described in this paper was supported by grants from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Project Nos. HKUST6056/01H and HKUST6213/04H).


  • Asymmetric and private information
  • Financial markets
  • Information and internet services
  • Information and market efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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