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Trust, social capital, and the bond market benefits of ESG performance

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  • Amiraslani, Hami
  • Lins, Karl V.
  • Servaes, Henri
  • Tamayo, Ane

Abstract

We investigate whether a firm’s social capital and the trust that it engenders are viewed favorably by bondholders. Using firms’ environmental and social (E&S) performance to proxy for social capital, we find no relation between social capital and bond spreads over the period 2006–2019. However, during the 2008–2009 financial crisis, which represents a shock to trust and default risk, high-social-capital firms benefited from lower bond spreads. These effects are stronger for firms with higher expected agency costs of debt and firms whose E&S efforts are more salient. During the crisis, high-social-capital firms were also able to raise more debt, at lower spreads, and for longer maturities. We find no evidence that the governance element of ESG is related to bond spreads. The gap between E&S performance of firms in the bottom and top E&S terciles has narrowed since the financial crisis, especially in the year prior to accessing the bond market.

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  • Amiraslani, Hami & Lins, Karl V. & Servaes, Henri & Tamayo, Ane, 2022. "Trust, social capital, and the bond market benefits of ESG performance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 112448, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:112448
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    Keywords

    ESG; CSR; sustainability; social capital; trust; corporate bonds; bond spreads; agency cost of debt; financial crisis; Springer deal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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