Recent research documents that there is significant variation in stock market participation by state and suggests that there may be state-specific factors that determine stock market participation of U.S. households. Using household survey data, we examine how state-level, public-company accounting quality affects households’ stock market participation decisions. We find that households residing in states where local public companies have better accounting quality are more likely to invest in stocks. Also, those households invest greater amounts of their wealth in the stock market. Furthermore, we present some evidence that accounting quality affects stock market participation through local press coverage. Additional cross-sectional tests show that the effect of accounting quality on stock market participation is more pronounced among less affluent and less educated households, consistent with prior findings that familiarity with and trust in the stock market are more important for those types of households to make stock investments.

JEL Classifications: D14; G11; M41.

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