Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure: A Topic-Based Approach
45 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2017 Last revised: 19 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 19, 2020
In this paper, we investigate potential differences in topic-specific CSR disclosure between companies located in liberal market economies (LMEs) and companies located in coordinated market economies (CMEs). Furthermore, we examine the potential convergence of the reporting practices that characterise these two economies over time. For that purpose, we analyse a sample of 3,537 CSR reports issued by European and US firms over the period 2008–2015. We use textual analysis to examine how explicitly such reports address specific CSR topics. Following Matten and Moon (2008), we focus on three thematic areas; namely ‘human resources’, ‘environmental protection’ and ‘society at large’. Each thematic area comprises three distinct topics. Our results show that companies operating in LMEs report more explicitly on issues concerning diversity, education, philanthropy and the community. In contrast, companies operating in CMEs report more explicitly on parental policies, climate change and biodiversity. Despite these differences, our results indicate that the reporting practices of companies operating in these two distinct types of economies have been converging with regard to philanthropy and community-related issues. For the disclosure on parental leave policies, the differences appear to manifest over time, while for the disclosure on the other topics, no distinct trend is observable.
Keywords: CSR disclosure, explicit CSR, textual analysis, topic-based analysis, time trend
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