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Abstract

Understanding the role of corporate ownership structure on corporate disclosure allows an assessment of its current effectiveness and opportunities for potential improvements. Prior research on the determinants of corporate risk disclosure (CRD) has basically focused on firm-specific characteristics and corporate governance characteristics and has largely ignored the potential role of ownership structure on CRD. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is no study has yet extensively investigated the effect of ownership structure on the level of CRD in Saudi Arabia. This study examines the influence of different types of ownership on CRD in a developing country with high ownership concentration and unique institutional setting, namely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study uses panel data analysis of the annual reports of Saudi listed companies over a period of four years. The findings show a strong impact of ownership structure on CRD. However, the extent and direction of this influence depend on the type of ownership. Companies with higher royal ownership and government ownership disclose more risk-related information. By contrast, companies with higher family ownership and institutional ownership tend to disclose less risk-related information. However, executive directors’ ownership and non-executive directors’ ownership have no impact on CRD. The results suggest that not all controlling families have the same characteristics and motivations towards CRD practice. Overall, the results confirm the essential role of ownership structure to influence the agency conflicts through increase (decrease) CRD. The results of this study support the use of different theories to better explain the phenomenon of CRD. The study has important implications for policymakers, regulatory authorities, and practitioners in Saudi Arabia and developing countries to improve CRD practices and optimize ownership structure.

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