Retail investors use XBRL structured data? Evidence from the SEC’s server log

Ken H. Guo, Xiaoxiao Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) has been touted as a new technology that may someday replace HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) as the standard method of statutory filings. This study offers some initial empirical evidence suggesting that retail investors do not use XBRL structured data as much as expected by the SEC (the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). The result shows that the main reports in HTML format of 10-K filings are used much more frequently than the structured data in raw XBRL and the Microsoft Excel format. In addition, textual reports derived from XBRL data are also used more frequently than the two structured data formats. Taken together, the results suggest that the XBRL mandate pushed by the SEC may need a second look.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Finance
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Microsoft Excel
  • Retail investor
  • Structured data
  • XBRL

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