Corporate Philanthropy, Ownership Type, and Financial Transparency

Journal of Business Ethics 130 (4):851-867 (2015)
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Abstract

Drawing on stakeholder theory and the concept of enlightened self-interest, we argue that firms that actively engage in corporate philanthropic giving also tend to demonstrate greater concern for investors’ interests by providing more transparent financial information and avoiding corporate misconduct. Moreover, the relationships between corporate giving, financial information transparency, and corporate misconduct vary significantly according to the firm’s ownership type, which affects the fundamental motivations for corporate philanthropy. In a sample of Chinese publicly listed firms from the 2003–2009 period, we find a positive relationship between corporate giving and financial transparency, and note that the relationship is stronger for non-state-owned enterprises. We also find a significantly negative association between corporate giving and corporate misconduct for non-SOEs, but not for SOEs. Taken together, these findings suggest that responsibility to both stakeholders and shareholders is a vital part of building trust and reputations in China’s non-SOE sector.

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