Previous studies have shown that corporate social responsibility（CSR）is a corporate activity that goes beyond legal and economic obligations for the purpose of giving back to society. Modern enterprises that enjoy the reputation of CSR are " good citizens” who are truly responsible for their stakeholders. However, due to the imperfection of current CSR rating system, the hypocrisy in CSR phenomenon has led to the fact that enterprises enjoying the reputation of such CSR cannot accurately reflect that they are " good citizens”. The purpose of this paper is to identify a company working on CSR are sincerely " good citizens”, or just " good actors” who think in one way and behave in another. According to the existing literature, a company implementing CSR is found to be " good citizen” of altruism from the perspectives of earnings management and financial reporting quality. However, in the aspect of tax avoidance, it is found that CSR cannot reflect enterprises’ " moral consciousness” and is a tool to cover up self-interest. Owing to the divergence between CSR image and the actual decision-making behavior in previous studies, none of the existing studies has focused on the perspective of earnings forecasts. Therefore, this paper tries to distinguish between the companies that are " good citizens” and the ones that are " good actors” from a perspective of earnings forecasts. From the perspective of corporate earnings forecasts, this paper studies the anomalies of the divergence between CSR reputation and the behavior. The results show that the companies that fulfill CSR better unexpectedly correspond to a lower probability of announcing their earnings forecasts. It is to say there may be " good actors” who deviate from CSR in China’s corporations. Furthermore, using the enterprise samples that announce their earnings forecasts, we find that CSR plays a significant role in enhancing the accuracy and precision of corporate earnings forecasts. In other words, the companies that both announce the earnings forecasts and have good CSR are the " good citizens” who really devote themselves to the society. The contribution of this paper may lie in the following three aspects. Firstly, it verifies the connection between CSR and corporate earnings forecasts for the first time at home. At present, as we know, only Lee（2017）studied the relationship, and based on this, we further study the relationship between CSR and the probability & accuracy of earnings forecasts, expanding the existing research field to a certain extent. Secondly, CSR motivation is very complex, and so for a company working on CSR, whether it is a sincerely " good citizen”, or just a " good actor” who thinks in one way and behaves in another, has always been a hot topic in the academic debate. Although the CSR reports released by the enterprises are conducive to a reduction in the asymmetry of market information, stakeholders are still skeptical of whether the enterprises are truly responsible for social responsibility. Therefore, the rating based on the CSR reports can only represent the external image of the enterprises. This paper chooses the perspective of corporate earnings forecasts, playing a " filtering role” like a funnel, and screens & further identifies " good citizens” or " good actors” among enterprises with sound CSR image, which has deepened the understanding of the " black box” of corporate social responsibility behavior and has provided new literature support for explaining existing corporate literature on CSR behavior. Thirdly, most of the existing literature examines the relationship between earnings and earnings forecasts in the aspects like corporate finance, but seldom pays attention to non-financial factors. This paper expands the relevant research in this area from the perspective of corporate social responsibility.
“Good Citizen” or “Good Actor”: A Study on Corporate Social Responsibility Behavior Anomalies——From the Perspective of Corporate Earnings Forecasts
Journal of Finance and Economics Vol. 44, Issue 05, pp. 97 - 108 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.jfe.2018.05.007
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Cite this article
Liu Bai, Lu Jiarui. “Good Citizen” or “Good Actor”: A Study on Corporate Social Responsibility Behavior Anomalies——From the Perspective of Corporate Earnings Forecasts[J]. Journal of Finance and Economics, 2018, 44(5): 97-108.