Responsible Investment

Better CSR = lower cost of equity capital

March 14, 2012
Image “Magnify Glass and Money” by Images Money (CC BY 2.0)

Using a sample of 2,809 U.S. firms over the period 1992 to 2007, the researchers found that firms with better CSR scores (based on data from SRI analytics firm KLD) exhibited lower cost of equity financing. “We find that firms with a better CSR score exhibit lower cost of equity capital after controlling for other firm-specific determinants as well as industry and year fixed effects,” say the authors in the abstract for the paper. “Moreover, we find that CSR investment in improving responsible employee relations, environmental policies, and product strategies substantially contributes to reducing firms’ cost of equity. We also show that firms related to two ‘sin’ business sectors, namely, tobacco and nuclear power, appear to observe higher equity financing costs,” they say. The paper, which was published in in the Journal of Banking and Finance (Vol. 35, Issue, 9, Sept. 2011), provides evidence that is “robust to a battery of sensitivity tests…Our finding support arguments in the literature that CSR enhances firm value,” say the authors.

This study was awarded the 2011 Moskowitz Prize (awarded by the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business, in cooperation with the Social Investment Forum, the Moskowitz Prize promotes the concept, practice, and growth of socially responsible investing).

References

This article may be reproduced according to our terms of use with attribution (and link, if online) to www.tias.edu. To be cited as: “Better CSR = lower cost of equity capital”, El Ghoul, Mishra, Kwok and Guedhami, www.tias.edu, March 14, 2012.

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