Corporate Governance Reforms around the World: The Impact on Corporate Social Responsibility

Hiu Leong Tsang, Ziyao San, Chih-Hsien Liao, Li Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Using a difference-in-differences design, we find robust evidence that worldwide board reforms can have significant effects on various stakeholders, resulting in increased firm CSR performance in both the environmental and social dimensions. Relative to countries that have implemented comply-or-explain reforms, countries with rule-based reforms tend to drive the increase in CSR performance post-reform. Our results hold for both first board reforms and major reforms, across different types of reforms, and across various dimensions of CSR performance. In addition, the effect of reforms on CSR performance is more pronounced for firms with higher levels of institutional ownership or lower levels of insider ownership and in countries with weaker CSR awareness and more stringent legal and regulatory environments. Further analyses show that reforms strengthen the relationship between CSR performance and future financial performance. Finally, we explore the possible mechanism through which board reforms could have a significant effect on firms' CSR performance. We find that board reforms increase a firm's likelihood of integrating CSR criteria in executive compensation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalCorporate Governance: An International Review
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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