Religion, the Nature of Ultimate Owner, and Corporate Philanthropic Giving: Evidence from China

Journal of Business Ethics 123 (2):235-256 (2014)
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Abstract

Using a sample of Chinese listed firms for the period of 2004–2010, this study examines the impact of religion on corporate philanthropic giving. Based on hand-collected data of religion and corporate philanthropic giving, we provide strong and robust evidence that religion is significantly positively associated with Chinese listed firms’ philanthropic giving. This finding is consistent with the view that religiosity has remarkable effects on individual thinking and behavior, and can serve as social norms to influence corporate philanthropy. Moreover, religion and corporate philanthropic giving have a significantly weaker (less pronounced) positive association for state-owned enterprises than for non-state-owned enterprises. The results are robust to a variety of sensitivity tests. Our results highlight religious influence on corporate philanthropic giving in contemporary China, an old traditional country with a typical communist economy.

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