We examine the value-relevance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure utilizing the Indian setting of mandatory CSR spending regulation which commenced in 2014. India is the only country where regulators mandate both CSR reporting and spending. Our interest is in two types of firms that meet the minimum specified thresholds: firms that voluntarily made CSR expenditures pre-regulation (voluntary spenders) and firms that did not (forced spenders). This separation in revealed preference allows researchers and investors to observe, at least on average, a firm's true CSR strategy type (proactive/leader versus reactive/follower) through their pre-regulation expenditure strategy. This unique quasi-experimental setting allows us to investigate whether CSR spending is positively associated with shareholders’ value, both when spending was voluntary pre-regulation (for voluntary spenders) and after it became mandatory post-regulation (for voluntary and forced spenders). We find that for voluntary spenders, the markets assess CSR expenditure as valuation-enhancing pre-regulation, but post-regulation the valuation benefits are significantly weakened. The market's assessment is that a forced spender's (imposed) CSR expenditure is, on average, less valuable than that of voluntary spenders, consistent with such spending being viewed as a form of corporate taxation. Further, we find that shortfalls from the required spending amount are penalized by the market for voluntary spenders but rewarded for forced spenders. We also find that advertising appears to play an important communication role both pre- and post-regulation. We view the results as being consistent with the notion that mandated expenditures are viewed differently than those made voluntarily.