This study uses the 1920 Moody’s Analysis of Industrial Investments to assess the extent of financial reporting by U.S. industrial companies. The reporting of an income statement and a balance sheet, as well as the amount of disclosure in both of these statements, is examined empirically to determine which economic factors influence this reporting. The results show that corporate-governance, operating, and financing factors all significantly influence the reporting of financial statements and the extent of disclosure within those statements. However, the significant factors vary across the two financial statements and the two decisions considered (reporting a particular statement and the amount of disclosure within the statement to report). All factors are shown to influence significantly the decision to report both a balance sheet and an income statement and the amount of information to report in a balance sheet. The decision regarding the amount of information to report in an income statement is only influenced by corporate-governance and operating factors.
Archambault, J. J., & Archambault, M. (2010). Financial reporting in 1920: The case of industrial companies. The Accounting Historians Journal, 37(1). 53-90.