An Analysis of Firms' Self-Reported Anticorruption Efforts
Paul M. Healy
Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Harvard University - Harvard Business School
We use Transparency International’s ratings of self-reported anticorruption efforts for 480 corporations to analyze factors underlying the ratings. Our tests examine whether these forms of disclosure reflect firms’ real efforts to combat corruption or are cheap talk. We find that firms with high ratings are domiciled in countries with low corruption ratings and strong anticorruption enforcement, operate in high corruption risk industries, have recently faced a corruption enforcement action, employ a Big Four audit firm, and have a higher percentage of independent directors. Controlling for these effects and other determinants, we find that firms with lower residual ratings have relatively higher subsequent media allegations of corruption. They also report higher future sales growth and show a negative relation between profitability change and sales growth in high corruption geographic segments. The net effect on valuation from sales growth and changes in profitability is close to zero. Given this evidence, we conclude that, on average, firms’ self-reported anticorruption efforts signal real efforts to combat corruption and are not merely cheap talk.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 55
Keywords: corruption, bribery, corporate performance, sales growth, profitability, disclosure, enforcement, monitoring, leadership
JEL Classification: M14, M1, M2, M4
Date posted: March 6, 2013 ; Last revised: January 29, 2014
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