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Do corporate social responsibility disclosures influence investment efficiency in the emerging markets of Asia?
journal contributionposted on 2022-12-08, 02:21 authored by Farah Zamir, Greg Shailer, Abubakr Saeed
PurposeCorporate investment efficiency ultimately influences economic development but is largely at the discretion of managers. Information asymmetries are problematic in emerging markets, but it is widely believed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosures can reduce information asymmetries. This paper examines whether CSR disclosures influence corporate capital investment efficiency in emerging Asian markets.Design/methodology/approachInvestment inefficiency is measured as the residuals from an investment model that is constructed by combining variables from prior studies to obtain a more detailed specification. A CSR disclosure index (CSRDI) is constructed from manually collected CSR disclosures for the largest corporations in each of the nine Asian emerging markets, as categorised by the MSCI Emerging Market Index, during 2015–2017. Underinvestments and overinvestments are regressed against the CSRDI, using a two-stage model to address the potential self-selection of CSR report issuers.FindingsThe results indicate that CSR disclosures reduce underinvestment for large firms but do not constrain overinvestment. These results are consistent with the propositions that, by increasing transparency or reducing information asymmetry, CSR disclosures can improve firm access to external finance needed to invest in profitable projects but cannot constrain entrenched managers who are not reliant on external finance.Originality/valueThis study extends the literature by analysing the impact of CSR disclosures on both underinvestments and overinvestments and by examining the CSR-investment efficiency across the nine emerging Asian markets. This enhances generalisability compared to single market studies. More generally, this study enhances the understanding of the role of non-financial disclosures in the Asian emerging markets, where corporate investment efficiency is important for economic development but where severe information asymmetry and agency conflicts between insiders and external investors are prevalent. Both the investment community and policymakers should benefit from enhanced understanding of factors that influence investment efficiency in those markets.