Company Reputation and the Cost of Equity Capital
59 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2010 Last revised: 29 Jan 2014
In this study, we investigate whether companies with better reputations enjoy a lower cost of equity financing. Using a sample of 9,276 large U.S. companies from 1987 through 2011 and the reputation rankings from Fortune’s “America’s Most Admired Companies List”, we find strong evidence that companies with higher reputation scores enjoy a lower cost of equity capital even after controlling for other factors that determine the cost of equity. In addition, we find that the effect of reputation on the cost of equity increases with the degree of information asymmetry, consistent with the reputation rankings providing information about company quality. We also find that changes in reputation are associated with subsequent changes in the company’s investor base, consistent with reputation rankings affecting investor recognition and improving risk sharing. We contribute to the cost of capital literature by identifying a unique determinant of the cost of equity, and to the reputation literature by demonstrating an important benefit that derives from creating and maintaining a high reputation.
Keywords: company reputation, cost of equity capital
JEL Classification: M41
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