Disclosure Incentives and Effects on Cost of Capitol Around the World
Jere R. Francis
University of Missouri at Columbia
Inder K. Khurana
University of Missouri at Columbia - Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
University of Missouri at Columbia - School of Accountancy
Accounting Review, Forthcoming
Prior research predicts that firms reliant on external financing are more likely to undertake a higher level of disclosure, and a higher disclosure level should in turn lead to a lower cost of external financing. This paper tests these predictions outside the United States where alternative legal and financial systems could mitigate the effectiveness of such disclosures, and comprehensively examines both disclosure incentives and disclosure consequences on cost of capital for a common set of firms. Using a sample from 34 countries, we find that firms in industries with greater external financing needs have higher voluntary disclosure levels, and that an expanded disclosure policy for these firms leads to a lower cost of both debt and equity capital. Cross-country differences in legal and financial systems affect observed disclosure levels in predicted ways. However, a surprising result in the study is that voluntary disclosure incentives appear to operate independently of country-level factors, which suggests the effectiveness of voluntary disclosure in gaining access to lower cost external financing around the world.
Keywords: Voluntary disclosure, Cost of capital, External financing
JEL Classification: G12, M41, M45, M47, K22Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 29, 2005
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