Title: The determinants of voluntary disclosure in Saudi Arabia: an empirical study

Authors: Murya Habbash; Khaled Hussainey; Awad Elsayed Awad

Addresses: Accounting Department, King Khalid University, P.O. Box 2742, Abha, Saudi Arabia ' Accounting and Finance Division, Plymouth University, UK ' Business Administration Department, Arab Open University, Egypt

Abstract: Our study has three objectives. The first is to determine the voluntary disclosure level in Saudi Arabia. The second is to compare this level with that of some other Arab countries. The third is to identify the main drivers of voluntary disclosure in Saudi Arabia. We use a 54-item disclosure checklist and apply the regression and content analyses to examine a sample of 361 firm-year observations of firms listed on Saudi Stock Exchange during 2007-2011. We find the voluntary disclosure average is 18.38% and that the firm size, age, profitability, auditor specialisation, family ownership, and industry type positively affect voluntary disclosure. We find, however, a negative relation between firm leverage and voluntary disclosure. Our analysis also shows that board independence, Big4 and state ownership have no impact on voluntary disclosure. Our findings should be of interest to the regulating bodies, accounting standards' setters, auditors and managers.

Keywords: voluntary disclosure; firm characteristics; corporate governance; Saudi Arabia; Arab countries; firm size; firm age; profitability; auditor specialisation; family ownership; industry type; firm leverage.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAAPE.2016.077890

International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, 2016 Vol.12 No.3, pp.213 - 236

Available online: 21 Jul 2016 *

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