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The measurement of sustainability disclosure: Abundance versus occurrence


  • Joseph, Corina
  • Taplin, Ross


Content analysis (disclosure abundance) and disclosure indices (disclosure occurrence) are popular methods for measuring the extent of disclosure. Few studies however compare the two approaches empirically or use empirical evidence to justify the use of one approach over the other. A study of sustainability reporting on Malaysian local government websites is used to illustrate how these two measurement approaches lead to different concepts of the extent of disclosure. Furthermore, hypothesised relationships between disclosure and independent variables based on theory differ substantially depending on the measurement approach for disclosure. Recommendations for the measurement of disclosure are suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph, Corina & Taplin, Ross, 2011. "The measurement of sustainability disclosure: Abundance versus occurrence," Accounting forum, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:accfor:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:19-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.accfor.2010.11.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Muttakin, Mohammad Badrul & Khan, Arifur & Belal, Ataur Rahman, 2015. "Intellectual capital disclosures and corporate governance: An empirical examination," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 219-227.
    2. Rosane Maria Seibert & Clea Beatriz Macagnan & Robert Dixon & Davi Souza Simon, 2019. "Social responsibility indicators: perspective of stakeholders in Brazil and in the UK," International Journal of Disclosure and Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(2), pages 128-144, July.
    3. Nadia Albu & Catalin Nicolae Albu & Madalina Dumitru & Valentin Florentin Dumitru, 2013. "Plurality or convergence in sustainability reporting standards?," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(Special 7), pages 729-742, November.
    4. Elena Ionașcu & Marilena Mironiuc & Ion Anghel & Maria Carmen Huian, 2020. "The Involvement of Real Estate Companies in Sustainable Development—An Analysis from the SDGs Reporting Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-24, January.
    5. Filipe Carvalho & Gilberto Santos & Joaquim Gonçalves, 2020. "Critical analysis of information about integrated management systems and environmental policy on the Portuguese firms' website, towards sustainable development," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 27(2), pages 1069-1088, March.
    6. Breeda Comyns, 2016. "Determinants of GHG Reporting: An Analysis of Global Oil and Gas Companies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 349-369, June.
    7. Stenka, Renata & Jaworska, Sylvia, 2019. "The use of made-up users," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    8. de Aguiar, Thereza Raquel Sales & Bebbington, Jan, 2014. "Disclosure on climate change: Analysing the UK ETS effects," Accounting forum, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 227-240.
    9. Madalina Dumitru & Nadia Albu & Valentin Florentin Dumitru & Catalin Nicolae Albu, 2014. "Practices Regarding the Forms of Communication with the Consumers used by a Multinational Company at Global and Local Level," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(35), pages 1-41, February.
    10. Nevado Gil, María Teresa & Gallardo Vázquez , Dolores, 2019. "Local government social responsibility: empirical evidence in the region of Extremadura," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 45, pages 161-179.
    11. Andrés Navarro-Galera & Francisco José Alcaraz-Quiles & David Ortiz-Rodriguez, 2018. "Enhancing Sustainability Transparency in Local Governments—An Empirical Research in Europe," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-22, June.
    12. Dina Patrisia & Shabbir Dastgir, 2017. "Diversification and corporate social performance in manufacturing companies," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 7(1), pages 121-139, April.
    13. D'Amato, D. & Korhonen, J. & Toppinen, A., 2019. "Circular, Green, and Bio Economy: How Do Companies in Land-Use Intensive Sectors Align with Sustainability Concepts?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 116-133.


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