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CSR reporting in banks: does the composition of the board of directors matter?

TalTech School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia

The objective of this paper is to determine the association between the composition of the board of directors and corporate social responsibility (hereafter CSR) reporting of listed banks. Special attention is paid to controlling for the impact of board composition and CSR reporting requirements. Logistic regressions with bank fixed effects are run on a global sample of 285 listed commercial banks from 2005 to 2017. The results demonstrate significant differences in the association between board composition and banks’ CSR reporting after correcting for regulatory requirements. Before controlling for regulatory requirements larger board decreases and the presence of women on boards increases the likelihood of banks’ CSR disclosure. After controlling for country-level governance regulations on board composition, the absence of CEO duality and inclusion of women on boards contribute to banks’ CSR disclosure, only if these are done on a voluntary basis. However, the presence of non-executive board members decreases the disclosure of CSR information even if they are named to boards voluntarily. Controlling for country-level governance regulations together with CSR requirements, leads to the irrelevance of most board composition indicators. Only the result regarding non-executive board members remains the same for voluntary CSR disclosure. Thus, voluntary commitment to CSR of banks increasing their board diversity voluntarily is not substantially different from banks that are subject to board composition requirements.
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