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ABSTRACT

This paper examines the economic impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) by studying foreign firms’ choice of whether to issue bonds in the U.S. public bond market or elsewhere before and after the law's enactment in 2002. After controlling for firm characteristics, bond features, home-country attributes, and market conditions, I find that foreign firms rely less on the U.S. public bond market after SOX. Additionally, some determinants of choosing the U.S. public bond market have changed since the passage of SOX: firms listing equities on U.S. stock exchanges, adopting International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and doing large bond issuances are more likely to choose this market in the post-SOX period than in the pre-SOX period. Overall, these results are consistent with a shift in the expected costs and benefits of choosing the U.S. public bond market following SOX. This paper provides the first evidence about how SOX influences debt financing decisions and alters capital flows across international bond markets.