Sarbanes-Oxley and the Cross-Listing Premium
This article tests whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) affected the premium that investors are willing to pay for shares of foreign companies cross-listed in the United States. I find that from year-end 2001 (pre-SOX) to year-end 2002 (after SOX adoption), the Tobin’s q and market/book ratios of foreign companies subject to SOX (cross-listed on levels 2 or 3) declined significantly, relative to Tobin’s q and market/book ratios of both (i) matching non-cross-listed foreign companies from the same country, the same industry, and of similar size, and (ii) cross-listed companies from the same country that are not subject to SOX (listed on levels 1 or 4), whose Tobin’s q and market/ book ratios declined only slightly and increased in some specifications, compared to matching non-cross-listed companies. Thus, the premium associated with trading in the United States was roughly constant, while the premium associated with being subject to U.S. regulation declined. The biggest losers were companies that were more profitable, riskier, and smaller, companies with a higher level of pre-SOX disclosure, and companies from well-governed countries. These results are consistent with the view that investors expected SOX to have greater costs than benefits for cross-listed firms on average, especially for smaller firms and already well-governed firms.