Does Sunlight Kill Germs? Stock Market Listing and Workplace Safety

54 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2021

See all articles by Claire Y.C. Liang

Claire Y.C. Liang

Georgetown University

Yaxuan Qi

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Department of Economics & Finance

Rengong Zhang

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK)

Haoran Zhu

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics

Date Written: February 20, 2021

Abstract

We find that, on average, workplace injuries in publicly-listed firms are lower than those in comparable private firms. This finding is robust to multiple tests designed to mitigate endogeneity concerns regarding a firm’s listing status. Further investigation suggests that the benefit of a public listing for workplace safety relates to heightened monitoring of listed firms by the media and regulators. The listing effect is more pronounced when media coverage is high. We further find that public firms located in counties facing reduced media scrutiny, due to local newspaper closures, experience greater increases in injury rates than local private counterparts after the closures. Regulators also impose more stringent monitoring on public firms, evidenced by a higher likelihood of nonroutine inspections and larger penalties on detected violations. Overall, our study highlights the positive impact of a stock market listing on workplace safety.

Keywords: workplace safety, stock market listing, private firms, ESG; OSHA

JEL Classification: J28, K32, G10

Suggested Citation

Liang, Claire Y.C. and Qi, Yaxuan and Zhang, Rengong and Zhu, Haoran, Does Sunlight Kill Germs? Stock Market Listing and Workplace Safety (February 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3877059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3877059

Claire Y.C. Liang

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Yaxuan Qi (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Rengong Zhang

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Haoran Zhu

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
China

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