Dhammika Dharmapala on Estimating the Compliance Costs of Sarbox Section 404(B)

Estimating the Compliance Costs of Sarbox Section 404(B)

An extensive literature across law, accounting, economics and finance has analyzed the compliance costs of securities regulation. In the US context, the Sarbanes-Oxley (hereafter SOX) legislation enacted in 2002 has been a particular focus of attention. However, its social welfare consequences remain controversial. My new working paper on Estimating the Compliance Costs of Securities Regulation: A Bunching Analysis of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404(b) brings both a novel dataset and a new empirical approach to bear on this important question. Many of the most significant provisions of pre-SOX—in particular, auditor attestation of internal controls under Section 404(b)—have been applied only to firms at or above a threshold of $75 million of “public float” (i.e. the market value of shares held by non-insiders); firms satisfying this threshold are referred to as “accelerated filers.”

Read more at Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation