Currently, companies spend a great deal of effort on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) disclosures. CSR disclosure relates to the provision of information on companies' environmental and social performance. From an economic perspective, companies might disclose this information to avoid or decrease potential political costs. We construct a CSR disclosure index based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Using content analysis, we analyze 130 listed German companies' CSR disclosures (470 firm-year observations) to investigate the determinants of these voluntary disclosure activities. Our results show that, consistent with the political cost theory, German companies' disclosures of all CSR issues are affected by their visibility, shareholder structure, and relationship with their US stakeholders. In addition, higher profitability is associated with more environmental disclosures. Finally, size and industry membership affect the amount of CSR disclosure.

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Keywords Content analysis, Corporate Social Responsibility, Global reporting initiative, Voluntary disclosure
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Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Review of Managerial Science
Gamerschlag, R, Möller, K, & Verbeeten, F.H.M. (2011). Determinants of voluntary CSR disclosure: Empirical evidence from Germany. Review of Managerial Science, 5(2), 233–262. doi:10.1007/s11846-010-0052-3