Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 235–256 | Cite as

Religion, the Nature of Ultimate Owner, and Corporate Philanthropic Giving: Evidence from China

  • Xingqiang Du
  • Wei Jian
  • Yingjie Du
  • Wentao Feng
  • Quan Zeng


Using a sample of Chinese listed firms for the period of 2004–2010, this study examines the impact of religion on corporate philanthropic giving. Based on hand-collected data of religion and corporate philanthropic giving, we provide strong and robust evidence that religion is significantly positively associated with Chinese listed firms’ philanthropic giving. This finding is consistent with the view that religiosity has remarkable effects on individual thinking and behavior, and can serve as social norms to influence corporate philanthropy. Moreover, religion and corporate philanthropic giving have a significantly weaker (less pronounced) positive association for state-owned enterprises than for non-state-owned enterprises. The results are robust to a variety of sensitivity tests. Our results highlight religious influence on corporate philanthropic giving in contemporary China, an old traditional country with a typical communist economy.


Religion Corporate philanthropic giving The nature of ultimate owner State-owned enterprises China 



We are especially grateful to the editor (Professor Domenec Mele) and two anonymous reviewers for their many insightful and constructive suggestions. We appreciate constructive comments from Donghua Chen, Guohua Jiang, Feng Liu, Jinhui Luo, Hongmei Pei, and participants of my presentations at Xiamen University and Anhui University. We are grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (approval number 71072053), the Key Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Science in Ministry of Education (approval number: 13JJD790027), and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (approval number: 20120121110007) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingqiang Du
    • 1
  • Wei Jian
    • 2
  • Yingjie Du
    • 3
  • Wentao Feng
    • 1
  • Quan Zeng
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ManagementXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.Xiamen National Accounting InstituteXiamenChina
  3. 3.School of ManagementShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina

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