Does CSR reduce financial distress? Moderating effect of firm characteristics, auditor characteristics, and covid-19

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Purpose: This study aims to investigate the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and financial distress and the moderating effect of firm characteristics, auditor characteristics and the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in China. Design/methodology/approach: The research question is empirically examined on the basis of a data set of 1,257 Chinese-listed firms from 2011 to 2021. The dependent variable is financial distress risk, which is measured mainly by Z-score. CSR score is used as a proxy for CSR. Propensity score matching, two-stage least square and generalized method of moments are adopted to mitigate the potential endogeneity issue. Findings: This study reveals that CSR can reduce financial distress. Specifically, results show an inverse relationship between CSR and financial distress, more significantly in non-state-owned enterprises, firms with non-BigN auditor and during Covid-19. The results are consistent and robust to endogeneity tests and sensitivity analyses. Originality/value: This study enriches the literature on CSR and financial distress, resulting in a more attractive corporate environment, improved financial stability and more crisis-resistant economies in China.

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International Journal of Accounting and Information Management



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