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This paper aims to review and synthesize the corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure literature in order to (1) develop a comprehensive definition of disclosure quality; (2) review the evolution of disclosure quality proxies used by accounting researchers; (3) describe the antecedents to disclosure quality; (4) describe the outcomes of disclosure quality; and (5) identify gaps in the current literature and offer suggestions for future research.Design/methodology/approachThis study conducted a systematic review capturing articles examining CSR disclosure quality. The researchers first searched EBSCO, identifying all relevant articles by searching for “corporate social responsibility,” “CSR,” “ESG” and “sustainability reporting” anywhere in the article. Then, the results were filtered to focus on 23 of the most prominent accounting journals. The search resulted in 592 articles which were individually reviewed for relevance to the authors’ review. This study includes all articles that examine disclosure and provide insight into elements that influence disclosure quality or provide evidence of the effects of disclosure quality on user decision-making.FindingsIt is found that a comprehensive definition of CSR disclosure quality has yet to be developed and that proxies for CSR disclosure quality have evolved over time. This study synthesizes the literature on the antecedents of CSR disclosure quality, and how CSR disclosure quality affects users' decision-making and related outcomes. Overall, the review of this study suggests that assurance and a number of corporate features have important effects on disclosure quality. Also, high-quality disclosures are positively associated with many benefits to market participants.Originality/valueThis study complements Huang and Watson's (2015) CSR literature review by comprehensively reviewing and synthesizing the CSR disclosure quality literature that was only emerging when their review was published. Importantly, this study contributes to the CSR disclosure literature by developing a comprehensive definition of CSR disclosure quality that is grounded in the accounting literature and aligned with current frameworks.
Journal of Accounting Literature – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 12, 2023
Keywords: CSR disclosure; CSR disclosure Quality; Disclosure quality measures; CSR assurance
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