The Effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Non-US Companies Cross-Listed in the US

51 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2006 Last revised: 4 Nov 2009

Abstract

This paper uses a natural experiment to measure market response to the adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Because SOX applies to all US public companies, US-based studies have difficulty separating the effects of contemporaneous events. However, controlled analysis is available: SOX applies to some cross-listed firms (those listed on level 2 or 3), but not to others (listed on level 1 or 4). By comparing reactions of SOX-exposed foreign firms to reactions of otherwise similar SOX-unexposed foreign firms, we can test investor beliefs about the costs and benefits of SOX in a way that is not cleanly available for U.S.-based studies. We find that stock prices of foreign firms subject to SOX declined (increased) significantly, compared to cross-listed firms not subject to SOX and to non-cross-listed firms, during key announcements indicating that the Act would (would not) fully apply to cross-listed issuers. In cross-sectional tests, high-disclosing firms and firms from high-disclosing countries experienced the strongest declines, while faster-growing companies experienced weaker declines. This evidence is consistent with the view that investors expected the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to have a net negative effect on cross-listed foreign companies, with high-disclosing companies suffering larger net costs, and faster-growing companies from poorly-governed countries suffering smaller costs.

In two related papers, http://ssrn.com/abstract=959022 and http://ssrn.com/abstract=994583, I study changes in cross-listing premia during 2002 (the year when SOX was adopted), and between 2002 and 2005. In both, I find that the premia for level-23 cross-listed companies declined relative to level-14 cross-listed companies and non-cross-listed companies, consistent with this event study.

Keywords: Sarbanes-Oxley Act, corporate governance, event study, cross-listing

JEL Classification: G1, G14, G15, G18, G3, G38, K00, K2, K22, K23, N20

Suggested Citation

Litvak, Kate, The Effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Non-US Companies Cross-Listed in the US. Journal of Corporate Finance, Vol. 13, pp. 195-228, 2007; U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 55. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=876624

Kate Litvak (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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