Corporate Governance Reforms, Societal Trust, and Corporate Financial Policies

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Original languageEnglish
Article number102507
Journal / PublicationJournal of Corporate Finance
Online published9 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024



While formal institutions are considered important in affecting corporate behaviors, little attention has been paid to the role of informal institutions in such relation. We employ the (formal) corporate governance reforms and the (informal) individual countries’ trust levels to examine how the informal institution moderates the impacts of the formal institution on corporate policies. Using a sample of 88,929 firm-year observations across 35 countries, we document a positive effect of corporate governance reforms on corporate financing and investment. More importantly, we find that the positive effect of the formal regulatory reforms is more pronounced with lower levels of informal country-level trust. Further analysis shows that corporate governance reforms lead to both lower under- and over-investment, and the effect is also stronger in low-trust countries. Our study sheds light on the interactive relation between corporate governance and trust and indicates that countries can offset the negative lack-of-trust effect on economic outcomes through formal regulatory reforms. © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Corporate governance, Societal trust, Information asymmetry, External financing, Investment

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