Review of Accounting Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 639–673 | Cite as

The effect of manager-specific optimism on the tone of earnings conference calls

  • Angela K. Davis
  • Weili Ge
  • Dawn Matsumoto
  • Jenny Li Zhang


The use of more or less positive language in corporate disclosures has been the subject of increased interest in the academic literature. We add to this stream of research by examining whether there is a manager-specific component in the tone of earnings-announcement related conference calls. We find that the tone of conference calls that is not explained by current performance, future performance, and strategic incentives has a significant manager-specific component. We also find that tone is significantly associated with manager-specific factors such as early career experiences and involvement in charitable organizations. Taken together, our findings indicate that, in addition to reflecting current and future performance, the tone of conference calls is significantly influenced by a manager-specific tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic. We also find some evidence of a manager-specific component to conference call returns, which is consistent with manager-specific optimism impacting investors’ interpretation of disclosures made in conference calls.


Conference call Tone Managerial style 

JEL Classification




Ge and Matsumoto would like to thank the Moss Adams Professorship and the Emmett S. Harrington Professorship, respectively, at the University of Washington for financial support. Zhang acknowledges the financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We thank Kyle Peterson for his help with Python programming and Darren Bernard, Roy Chow, Vlada Edwards, Liling Gao, Karlyn Kurokawa, Gladys Lengkong, Zhen Liu, Lungyun Lou, Norbert Ma, Ashley Matsumoto, Anyi Sun, Cecilia Velazquez-Chavez, Yiran Wang for their valuable research assistance. We appreciate the comments and suggestions of our FARS discussant, Sarah Zechman, as well as workshop participants at Boston College, the University of Chicago, the University of Florida, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, the University of Southern California, and the UBCOW Accounting Conference.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela K. Davis
    • 1
  • Weili Ge
    • 2
  • Dawn Matsumoto
    • 2
  • Jenny Li Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Charles H. Lundquist School of BusinessUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Foster School of BusinessUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Sauder School of BusinessThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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