An Empirical Investigation Between Culture, Investor Protection, International Banking Disclosures and Stock Returns

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Auyeung, Pak

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Nguyen, Tom

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There is a renewed interest in further exploring the significance of culture to the accounting disclosure model in view of a highly competitive global business environment. To date, there is no empirical research to investigate this issue with respect to a specific industry, namely banking. There are three main reasons for focusing only on the banking industry (Hooi 2004). First, it is considered to be the most important industry for the country’s economic and financial stability. Moreover, the IASB has recognised its significance by issuing unique accounting standards i.e. IAS30, IAS32 and IAS39. Second, Saidenberg and Schuermann (2003) argue that with the scope and complexity of Basel II, it provides opportunities for researching issues through Pillar 3. Third, with national banking systems being non-homogenous, it is important to investigate the effects of national culture because prior research has argued that cultural differences have partly explained international differences in disclosure framework of accounting systems. The purpose of this study is to apply and extend Gray’s (1988) theoretical framework of national culture with respect to four research questions. First, to contribute to Gray’s (1988) theory of cultural influence on international banking disclosures. Second, to investigate the possible significance of investor protection to the banking disclosure model. Third, to explore Gray’s (1988) theory on the relationship of national culture to capital market research using banking returns. Fourth, to investigate the value relevance of investor protection and banking disclosures to the returns model. Seventeen developed and developing countries with a representative sample of 37 listed domestic commercial banks were examined in 2004. For the disclosure model, the study finds that national culture is a significant factor in the banking industry. Individualism has been found as the primary cultural dimension for banking disclosures. Moreover, the explanatory power of the model significantly improves with the legal dimensions of common law and anti-director rights. The positive association between common law and banking disclosures is consistent with La Porta et al. (1998) which argue that common law countries with stronger investor protection are more transparent than civil law countries. However, there is a negative association between investor protection variable of anti-director rights with banking disclosures. This may suggest that investor protection does not encourage minority investors to enter the stock market specifically in the global banking industry. This situation may lead to a lack of demand for transparency through a smaller dispersion of ownership across the domestic banks. For the returns model, the study finds that national culture is value relevant in the banking industry. Collectivism and power distance have been found to be the two primary cultural dimensions for banking returns. Moreover, the explanatory power of the model significantly improves with anti-director rights and banking disclosures. These results are (1) consistent with La Porta et al. (2002) which argue that investor protection increases firm valuation with respect to Tobin’s Q and (2) international investors tend to support the Basel Committee’s commitment in providing a more transparent framework by implementing Pillar 3 in the near future, starting with the Basel member countries. Finally, an interesting finding from the study is that firm size has a negative association with banking returns.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Griffith Business School

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Investor Protection


International Banking Disclosures

Stock Returns



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