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Institutional and economic determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure by banks: Institutional perspectives

Jonas da Silva Oliveira (Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL), Lisboa, Portugal)
Graça Maria do Carmo Azevedo (Institute of Higher Learning in Accounting and Administration, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Maria José Pires Carvalho Silva (Department of Accounting, Higher Institute of Accounting and Administration, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 17 April 2019

Issue publication date: 17 April 2019




This study aims to explore the firm’s and country-level institutional forces that determine banks’ CSR reporting diversity, during the recent global financial crisis.


Specifically, this study assesses whether economic and institutional conditions explain CSR disclosure strategies used by 30 listed and unlisted banks from six countries in the context of the recent 2007/2008 global financial crisis. The annual reports and social responsibility reports of the largest banks in Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal were content analyzed.


The findings suggest that economic factors do not influence CSR disclosure. Institutional factors associated with the legal environment, industry self-regulation and the organization’s commitments in maintaining a dialogue with relevant stakeholders are crucial elements in explaining CSR reporting. Consistent with the Dillard et al.’s (2004) model, CSR disclosure by banks not only stems from institutional legitimacy processes, but also from strategic ones.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the importance of CSR regulation to properly monitor manager’s’ opportunistic use of CSR information and regulate the assurance activities (regarding standards, their profession or even the scope of assurance) to guarantee the proper credibility reliability of CSR information.


The study makes two major contributions. First, it extends and modifies the model used by Chih et al. (2010). Second, drawn on the new institutional sociology, this study develops a theoretical framework that combines the multilevel model of the dynamic process of institutionalization, transposition and deinstitutionalization of organizational practices developed by Dillard et al. (2004) with Campbell’s (2007) theoretical framework of socially responsible behavior. This theoretical framework incorporates a more inclusive social context, aligned with a more comprehensive sociology-based institutional theory (Dillard et al., 2004; Campbell, 2007), which has never been used in the CSR reporting literature hitherto.



Oliveira, J.d.S., Azevedo, G.M.d.C. and Silva, M.J.P.C. (2019), "Institutional and economic determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure by banks: Institutional perspectives", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 196-227.



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