This paper investigates how corporate social responsibility (CSR) influences the cost of equity capital from a global perspective. With a full sample of 10,803 firm-year observations from 25 countries, the study finds that, in general, firms with better CSR scores are significantly associated with a reduced cost of equity capital in North America and Europe. In contrast, the results do not continue to hold in Asian countries. Our study provides implications for global regulators and policymakers when setting social reporting standards, suggesting that institutional and/or cultural factors affect top management's social reporting behavior and regional investors' impressions of CSR value. In particular, the Asian regulators should effectively promote public understanding and awareness of CSR information. Additionally, our findings may be informative to international managers and investors when considering CSR as an indicator in their internal governance designation and decision-making. Firms should carefully evaluate the risk of CSR investing and its effect on equity financing in different regions.
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