New Evidence on the Role of the Media in Corporate Social Responsibility
53 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016 Last revised: 17 Jan 2018
Date Written: June 7, 2016
Prior research suggests that the media plays an important information intermediary role in capital markets. We investigate the role of the media in influencing firms’ engagement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Using a large sample of 4,396 unique firms from 42 countries over the period 2003 to 2012, we find strong evidence that firms engage in more CSR activities if located in countries where the media has more freedom. This relation is robust to using various proxies for media freedom, an alternative source of CSR data, and to applying the instrumental variables approach to address endogeneity. In additional analyses, we find that the positive relation between media freedom and CSR engagement is stronger for better governed firms and for larger firms. Since the media have the ability to impact reputational capital, we conclude that media freedom affects firms’ incentives to engage in costly CSR activities.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility; Media Freedom; Corporate Governance; Corporate Reputation
JEL Classification: G34; M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation