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Disclosure Incentives and Effects on Cost of Capital around the World

Jere R. Francis, Inder K. Khurana and Raynolde Pereira
The Accounting Review
Vol. 80, No. 4 (Oct., 2005), pp. 1125-1162
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4093119
Page Count: 38
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Disclosure Incentives and Effects on Cost of Capital around the World
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Abstract

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.

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