A review of Chinese and English language studies on corporate environmental reporting in China

Helen Hong Yang, Russell Craig, Alan Farley

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    We review theoretical arguments, research methods and empirical findings of 57 Chinese and English language studies of corporate environmental reporting (CER) in China. The studies reviewed highlight the influential role of the Chinese government in driving change in CER, especially since 2008. They reveal that few of the associations reported in Western capital markets research between company characteristics and CER (other than size and industry) were found in studies of CER in China. Agency theory prevailed in Chinese language studies of CER in China whereas institutional theory was more popular in English language studies.

    Theoretical foundation of CER research relating to China needs to be more sensitive to the efficacy of transporting Western-based theories to the Chinese context. We draw attention to the potential of using institutional theory to frame analysis of Chinese CER. We call for future research into CER in China to adopt a more flexible theoretical perspective, to be more conscious of distinctive Chinese company characteristics, and to integrate macro and micro contextual factors more strongly.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-48
    Number of pages19
    JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
    Early online date7 Nov 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


    • corporate reporting
    • China
    • critical
    • environmental


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