The effects of firm size and industry on corporate giving

Journal of Business Ethics 72 (3):229 - 241 (2007)
Recent downward trends in corporate giving have renewed interest in the factors that shape corporate philanthropy. This paper examines the relationships between charitable contributions, firm size and industry. Improvements over previous studies include an IRS data base that covers a much broader range of firm sizes and industries as compared to previous studies and estimation using an instrumental variable technique that explicitly addresses potential simultaneity between charitable contributions and profitability. Important findings provide evidence of a cubic relationship between charitable giving and firm size and evidence of strong industry effects. The plus-minus-plus regression coefficient sign pattern for the cubic firm size model suggests that small and large firms give more relative to total receipts with lower giving ratios among medium size firms. One interpretation for this finding is that small firms are close to the communities they serve while high visibility creates a need for large firm philanthropy. Strong industry effects provide evidence of inter-industry differences in giving culture and/or different public relations requirements across industries.
Keywords charitable contributions  corporate philanthropy  firm size  industry effects  social responsibility
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