We examine a form of voluntary disclosure that has received limited attention to date, namely, managers' long-term guidance for earnings three to five years in advance. We identify 1,739 long-term earnings forecasts issued by 295 unique firms from 2000 to 2012 and find that relative to firms that issue only short-term earnings guidance, those that also issue long-term guidance are larger, have more certain operating environments, and are followed by analysts who are more likely to issue long-term growth forecasts. Long-term guidance is informative to investors and analysts incorporate the news contained in these forecasts into their own long-term growth forecasts. We also document that the issuance of long-term guidance is associated with more (less) investor focus on long-term (short-term) earnings news. Lastly, we find mixed evidence on the association between long-term guidance and real earnings management decisions. Our study adds to the literature on managers' voluntary disclosure choices.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.