Estimating the hidden corporate social performance of Japanese firms

Megumi Suto, Hitoshi Takehara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Managers sometimes hide their level of corporate social performance (CSP) from investors, intentionally or unintentionally. The purpose of this study is to estimate such "hidden CSP" of firms. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, it is assumed that Japanese public firms can be classified into two groups based on the difference in corporate social responsibility (CSR) awareness. Thus, the respondents to the CSR questionnaire survey are classified as the CSR-aware group, and the non-respondents are treated as the CSR-unaware group. It is further assumed that a significant relationship exists between CSP and a firm's attributes, including financial performance and stock ownership. Under these assumptions, a model to estimate the CSP of non-respondents is constructed using the relationship between CSP and a firm's observable attributes. Findings: There is a significant latent gap between the CSP of respondents and the hidden CSP of non-respondents because of differences in firm size, foreign dependency of business and reputation and trust in the financial markets, rather than because of differences in financial performance. Insider-oriented ownership structures are negatively associated with CSP. Research limitations/implications: The estimation model developed in this study depends on a set of assumptions. In particular, a stable relationship between CSP and firm-specific variables, i.e. there is no structural change during the observation period, is assumed. Despite these limitations, this study extends the CSR research perspective, as it makes it possible to estimate the hidden CSP of public firms. Practical implications: In practice, the findings of this study surface a part of the missing CSR that investors need and that could alert non-respondent firms to the importance of CSR strategy and related disclosures to adapt to rapidly changing social and environmental business settings. Originality/value: This study is the result of academic interest in examining the missing information related to CSR activities to obtain an overall picture of the CSP distribution of Japanese listed firms as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-362
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 6


  • Corporate financial performance
  • Corporate social performance
  • Corporate social responsibilities
  • Selection bias
  • Stock ownership structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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