Review correspondence between the SEC and firms is a potentially valuable resource for investors, revealing important information about firms' financial reporting quality. Research suggests that reducing access costs (i.e., the amount of effort required to access review correspondence) could increase investors' processing of this important information. Drawing on psychology theory, I predict and find that access costs interact with another key characteristic within the SEC's control—review ambiguity (i.e., transparency about outcomes from the SEC's review process)—to influence investors' judgments. Results show that when access costs are low, greater review ambiguity decreases investors' reliance on review correspondence information and influences investment judgments in a corresponding manner. In contrast, review ambiguity has no effect on investors' reliance or investment judgments when access costs are high. Overall, my results provide important new insights on the importance of SEC transparency during its review process, particularly as information becomes more easily accessible.

JEL Classifications: C91; D81; D83; G11; M41.

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