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The Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting and Firm Performance and the Moderating Role of Firm Life Cycle Stages: Evidence from China

Naveed Jan (), Arodh Lal Karn (), Zeyun Li () and Xiyu Liu ()
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Naveed Jan: Department of Management Science, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250000, China
Arodh Lal Karn: School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, China
Zeyun Li: School of Humanity, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Gelugor 11800, Malaysia
Xiyu Liu: Department of Management Science, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250000, China

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 18, 1-12

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the relationship of firm performance and corporate social responsibility reporting and the moderating role of a firm’s life cycle stages in Chinese listed companies. We used the sample of all A-share listed firms on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges for the period 2010 to 2020. The authors used pooled ordinary least squares (OLS) regression as a baseline methodology. Our regression results show that positive Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity significantly reduces the performance of the firm. In addition, the negative link between positive Corporate social responsibility and a firm’s performance is more pronounced for firms in mature life cycle stages. Our results are robust to alternative proxy measures of ROA for firm performance, corporate social responsibility reporting, and life cycle stages. To control the possible problem of endogeneity, we use a one-year lag and 2SLS least squares regression. We find that firm performance has a statistically significant influence on CSR reporting. Moreover, we see that firms with high performance are more likely to report CSR activities than low-performance firms. Additionally, six out of ten control variables (Independent Director, Board Shares, State Owned Enterprise, Board Meeting, Chief executive officer Duality, and Firm Growth) have positive influences on CSR reporting. These findings hold for a set of robustness tests. Our results have implications for the development of CSR reporting in developing countries such as China. Our research suggests that, in China, firms with better financial performance undertake more CSR reporting. This paper contributes to the existing literature by investigating the effect of firm performance on CSR reporting and the moderating role of a firm’s life cycle stages in Chinese listed companies. Additionally, this paper enriches the current literature on CSR reporting and highlights the importance of a firm’s financial performance for better environmental performance and reporting.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility reporting (CSRR); firm performance (FP); corporate life cycle stages (FLCS); stakeholder theory (ST); life cycle theory (LCT); legitimacy theory (LT); China (C) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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