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The influence of institutional environment on corporate responsibility disclosures in Ghana

Edem Emerald Welbeck (University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The study aims to analyse the level and trend of corporate responsibility disclosures (CRD) in annual reports of listed firms on the Ghana Stock Exchange against the Global Reporting Index and to examine the influence of the institutional environment on such disclosures.


A content analysis of annual reports of 17 listed firms in Ghana over a 10-year period (2003-2012) of social and environmental disclosures using the Global reporting indicators as the standard was undertaken. A multiple regression analysis using the random effect estimator was used to test institutional factors influencing CRD.


The study finds that listed firms in Ghana disclose some responsibility information; and this has increased over the period, with a significant dip in the year 2010. The study also documents a significant amount of disclosures post International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adoption. The increase in disclosure is particularly explained by IFRS adoption by Ghana and the number of women on boards. This study finds a positive but weak relationship between companies’ association with foreign firms, majority shareholders and CRD. A positive significant relationship is confirmed for firm size, while capital intensity shows a negative significant relationship with CRD in Ghana.

Research limitations/implications

The word search may not capture similar words not known to the author, and the words used may have different meanings. In addition, bias may arise from the limited sample size and the choice of companies. Regulators must enforce existing environmental guidelines and streamline reporting for social and environmental issues to help managers disclose more social and environmental information.


The study highlights CRD and its drivers from Ghana, an emerging African economy. To the author’s knowledge, this study is the first to undertake a longitudinal study on social and environmental disclosures of listed companies in Ghana against the Global Reporting Initiative and to determine the effect of IFRS adoption in Ghana on CRD.



The author thanks and acknowledges Professor Jeroen Derwall of Maastricht University, The Netherlands, for his guidance, insightful comments and suggestions. The author is also grateful to the Editor – Professor Charl de Villiers – the Associate Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions that have helped significantly improve the paper.


Welbeck, E.E. (2017), "The influence of institutional environment on corporate responsibility disclosures in Ghana", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 216-240.



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