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CSR report assurance in the USA: an empirical investigation of determinants and effects

Charles H. Cho (ESSEC Business School, Cergy Pontoise, France)
Giovanna Michelon (Department of Accounting, University of Exeter Business School, Exeter, UK)
Dennis M. Patten (Department of Accounting, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)
Robin W. Roberts (Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 6 May 2014




The authors aims to examine, first, what factors appear to lead those US companies that do obtain assurance on their CSR reports to do so, and second, whether this assurance appears to be valued by market participants.


The authors use logistic regression analysis to determine what factors explain the choice to seek assurance. For the second stage of the analysis, the authors rely on Aboody et al.'s market valuation model to examine the association between CSR report assurance and firm value.


The authors find that industry membership and disclosure extensiveness both appear to influence the choice to attain third-party assurance on CSR reports in the USA. However, the results also indicate that the assurance is not associated with higher market value for report-issuing companies.

Research limitations/implications

The authors examine only large firms and limit the investigation to a single year. Further, the authors do not examine market valuation effects where a broader stakeholder orientation might influence these relations.

Practical implications

The results suggest that improving the incidence of CSR report attestation in the USA may require efforts from the assurance community to better identify the potential benefits of the practice.


This is the first study to focus on CSR report assurance in a setting where country-level influences appear to limit adoption of the practice. As such, the findings are potentially important for understanding both the low incidence of assurance and what might be necessary to increase its use.



H. Cho, C., Michelon, G., M. Patten, D. and W. Roberts, R. (2014), "CSR report assurance in the USA: an empirical investigation of determinants and effects", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 130-148.



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