Corporate Visibility in Print Media and Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainability 2018, 10

18 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2019

See all articles by Zhichuan Frank Li

Zhichuan Frank Li

University of Western Ontario - Ivey School of Business

Taylor Morris

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Brian Young

Wake Forest University

Date Written: May 27, 2019

Abstract

Outside of direct ownership, the general public may feel it is an implicit stakeholder of a firm. As the public becomes more vested in a firm’s actions, the firm may be more likely to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. We proxy for the public’s stake in a firm with public visibility. Based on 3,400 unique newspaper publications from 1994 to 2008, we measure visibility for U.S. S&P 500 firms with the frequency of print articles per year concerning the firm. We find that visibility has a significant, positive relationship with the CSR rating. Evidence also suggests this relationship may be causal and working in one direction, from visibility to CSR. While the existing literature provides other factors that influence CSR, visibility proves to have the most significant impact when tested alongside those other factors. Visibility also has a mediating effect on the relationship between CSR rating and firm size. CSR rating and firm size relate negatively for the lowest visibility firms and positively for the highest. This paper provides strong evidence that visibility is an important factor to consider for studies on corporate social performance.

Suggested Citation

Li, Zhichuan Frank and Morris, Taylor and Young, Brian, Corporate Visibility in Print Media and Corporate Social Responsibility (May 27, 2019). Sustainability 2018, 10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3394956

Zhichuan Frank Li (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Ivey School of Business ( email )

1151 Richmond Street North
London Ontario, Ontario N6A 3K7
Canada

Taylor Morris

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Brian Young

Wake Forest University ( email )

P.O. Box 7659
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7285
United States

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