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Asymmetric Response:Explaining Corporate Social Disclosure by Multi-National Firms in Environmentally Sensitive Industries

By Steven Toms and John Hasseldine


The paper examines the determinants of corporate social disclosure (CSD) using a sample drawn from environmentally sensitive industries. It extends the traditional literature in two respects. First, it is international in scope, examining the accounting disclosure responses of multi-national companies to the pressures implied by the nature and scope of their operations. Second, variables measuring political risk and social development are developed so that these pressures can be measured, thereby introducing new dimensions to the literature. In common with previous studies, financial risk, size and other control variables are included. The relationships are tested econometrically utilising regression techniques not previously applied in the CSD literature but nonetheless more generally appropriate when using count dependent variables. Our results suggest that managers feel an unequal sense of responsibility to different constituencies and their disclosure priorities are determined by stock market accountability, lobbying power of their domestic audience and the political risk of their activities rather than the impact of their activities in countries of operation

Year: 2009
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