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Corporate social responsibility orientation and textual features of financial disclosures

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  • Soliman, Marwa
  • Ben-Amar, Walid

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) orientation and textual attributes of financial disclosures. Using a large U.S. sample from 1999 to 2017, we find that firms with high CSR orientation provide more readable disclosures and use a less ambiguous tone in their annual reports. These findings are consistent with the notion that managers in CSR-conscious firms adhere to high ethical standards and commit to improving the transparency of their firms' financial disclosures. Our results are robust to alternative measures of readability and CSR performance, potential endogeneity, and sampling methods. Moreover, in a cross-sectional analysis, we show that the impact of CSR on corporate readability/tone ambiguity is more pronounced for firms with weak corporate governance. Overall, the results suggest that CSR serves as a substitute for traditional corporate governance mechanisms to ensure transparent disclosure.

Suggested Citation

  • Soliman, Marwa & Ben-Amar, Walid, 2022. "Corporate social responsibility orientation and textual features of financial disclosures," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:84:y:2022:i:c:s1057521922003507
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irfa.2022.102400
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