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DCC Accounting Research Seminars

How do Analysts Process Managerial Earnings Forecasts? An Experimental Study Using Eye-Tracking Technology(ñ).

Saverio Bozzolan (Luiss Università, Rome)

13 mars 2017  -  17:15-19:00, salle Anthropole 3032

Host(s): Minyue Dong

This study aims to open the black box of analysts’ decision processes by directly studying how
analysts focus their attention on particular Management Earnings Forecasts (MEF) features
and how this affects their subsequent recommendations. We use a 2x2 between participant
experiment based on eye-tracking methodology where we vary the firm’s historical performance
and the analyst and market reaction to the MEF. Based on psychological processing theories, we
formulate three different hypotheses. We find that when the historical performance is low,
participants spend relatively more time looking at financial information (more visual attention
during the experiment). Moreover, when the analysts’ and market’s reaction turns from negative
to positive, participants are more interested in financial information and less interested in nonfinancial
information (namely the Strategy that the firm has put in place). In addition, we
investigate recommendation decision and find that a tabular presentation format of performance
targets is associated with a higher recommendation than narrative presentation format. Our
study contributes to the long-standing debate on the role of financial and non-financial
information in corporate communication with financial markets by showing how participants
process information in management earnings forecasts. Our study could also provide insights to
standard setters and policy makers who increasingly emphasize the importance of non-financial

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