ABSTRACT: This study examines whether the mandatory adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union (EU) in 2005 reduces the cost of equity capital. Using a sample of 6,456 firm‐year observations of 1,084 EU firms during the 1995 to 2006 period, I find evidence that, on average, the IFRS mandate significantly reduces the cost of equity for mandatory adopters by 47 basis points. I also find that this reduction is present only in countries with strong legal enforcement, and that increased disclosure and enhanced information comparability are two mechanisms behind the cost of equity reduction. Taken together, these findings suggest that while mandatory IFRS adoption significantly lowers firms' cost of equity, the effects depend on the strength of the countries' legal enforcement.

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