Elsa Allman and Joonsung Won
This paper examines the effects of environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure on investment efficiency, using the adoption of Directive 2014/95/EU as a quasi-natural shock on disclosure quality. We document a significant and robust reduction of underinvestment for U.S. firms with significant activities in the EU, which exposes them to the Directive, relative to U.S. firms not affected. These firms are able to raise additional debt after the adoption of the Directive, although there is no evidence of any impact on new capital raised in equity markets. In addition, investment efficiency gains are strongest for firms with ex-ante lower ESG disclosure levels, that are financially constrained, and for firms with more entrenched managers. These results suggest that non-financial disclosure requirements can play a role in mitigating adverse selection problems for underinvesting firms, especially in debt markets, in a manner similar to disclosure of financial information.
Link Working Paper: The Effect of ESG Disclosure on Corporate Investment Efficiency
Link Blog: Can ESG disclosure improve investment efficiency?