Punishment by Securities Regulators, Corporate Social Responsibility and the Cost of Debt

Journal of Business Ethics 171 (2):337-356 (2021)
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Abstract

This study examines whether penalties issued to Chinese listed companies by securities regulators for violations of corporate law affect the cost of debt, and the moderating role of corporate social responsibility fulfillment on this relationship. Our sample consists of firms listed on Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges from 2011 to 2017 and the data are collected from the announcements of China Securities Regulatory Commission. The findings are as follows: punishment announcements by regulatory authorities increase the cost of debt; and the effect of punishment announcements on the cost of debt is partially offset by prior CSR performance. These findings are shown to be robust. The reputation insurance effect of CSR is more pronounced in state-owned enterprises and in an institutional environment with low marketization, a weak legal environment, and low information transparency. The findings support the reputation insurance hypothesis of CSR and employ the cost of debt as a governance mechanism.

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