Corporate social responsibility and operating performance in life and health insurance market : evidence from China

  • Ji ZHANG

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)


Extant literature is equivocal on whether and how corporate social responsivity (CSR) activities affect corporates’ performance. To the best of our knowledge, a very limited number of research investigates CSR-performance relationship in insurance and even no research examines this relationship in China’s life and health (LH) insurance market. China LH insurance market has been the world’s second biggest LH insurance market albeit receiving limited attention in academia. We innovatively use two measurements of philanthropic activities as proxy for positive CSR performance. Alternatively, we use administrative penalties received from the provincial regulators as a proxy for the negative shock on the insurers. Our sample period is 2010 to 2018. We provide robust empirical evidence that firm CSR performance is positively correlated to the LH insurers’ corporate operating performance (COP). Specifically, we find insurers’ premiums written are positively related to firm philanthropic activities but negatively related to the administrative penalties. Moreover, insurers’ lapse ratios are negatively related to firm philanthropic activities but positively related to the administrative penalties. We further find that the CSR-COP relationship is moderated by both firm-characteristic factors and provincial-level macroeconomic factors. The Firm-specific factors are the insurer ownership structure, the business diversification index, and the market competition magnitude, while the provincial-level macroeconomic factors are the local education level, the provincial GDP growth rate, the urbanization level, and the severity of local pollution.
Date of Award21 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorJiang CHENG (Supervisor) & Tao SUN (Co-supervisor)

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