Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Jonathan Rogers

Second Advisor

Sarah Zechman

Third Advisor

Tony Cookson

Fourth Advisor

Yonca Ertimur

Fifth Advisor

Alan Jagolinzer


This dissertation investigates how CEO overconfidence is associated with the disclosure of proprietary information. I use characteristics of research and development activities (R&D) and capital investments (CAPX) to examine within-firm variation in proprietary disclosure costs. After verifying that narrative disclosures about R&D have higher levels of proprietary disclosure costs than those about CAPX, I predict that overconfident executives underestimate the costs of disclosing proprietary information, leading to higher proprietary disclosure. Consistent with this prediction, I find that overconfident CEOs disclose significantly more about R&D, but not more about CAPX. Further, these CEOs increase the disclosure of distinctly proprietary R&D information (i.e., about current and future investments) significantly more than less proprietary R&D information (i.e., about historical investments). The results suggest the findings are not due to endogenous firm-CEO matching or overconfident CEOs selecting systematically different investment levels.

Available for download on Sunday, October 31, 2021