Corporate social responsibility, institutional environments, and tax avoidance : evidence from a subnational comparison in China

Kenny Z. LIN, Suwina CHENG, Fang ZHANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the association between mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure and economic contribution (tax payments) in China, where we expect this association to be affected by a region's institutional attributes. Exploiting a dataset that shows cross-regional variations in institutions, we find that in regions with lower institutional quality, firms claiming to be socially responsible actually avoid taxes, whereas CSR disclosure in other regions is more aligned with the social responsibility aspect of tax compliance. Our study contributes to the literature by demonstrating that in the absence of proper institutions, CSR disclosure is likely to remain a form of window dressing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-318
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting
Issue number4
Early online date15 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
EventThe 36th International Business Research Conference - Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 14 Jul 201616 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This paper won the 36th International Business Research Conference Best Paper Award. Kenny Lin acknowledges financial support from Lingnan University (Funding Ref. DR13A1).


  • Business ethics and social responsibility
  • Institutions
  • Tax avoidance
  • Transition economies

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