Is Corporate Philanthropy Used as Environmental Misconduct Dressing? Evidence from Chinese Family-Owned Firms

Journal of Business Ethics 129 (2):341-361 (2015)
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Abstract

In this study, I examine the hidden connection between corporate philanthropic giving and corporate environmental misconduct. Using survey data from Chinese family-owned firms, I provide strong and consistent evidence to show that corporate environmental misconduct is significantly positively associated with corporate philanthropic giving, suggesting that some Chinese family-owned firms act philanthropically to divert public attention from their environmentally unfriendly behavior. Moreover, the positive association between corporate environmental misconduct and corporate philanthropic giving is less pronounced for politically connected family-owned firms than for their counterparts. The above results are robust to various sensitivity tests. My findings suggest that environmental misconduct dressing may be an additional motivation for corporate philanthropic giving and that different dimensions of corporate social responsibility may be inherently inconsistent in the given institutional setting

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