Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 126, Issue 3, pp 343–369 | Cite as

Research on Corporate Philanthropy: A Review and Assessment

  • Arthur GautierEmail author
  • Anne-Claire Pache


We review some 30 years of academic research on corporate philanthropy, taking stock of the current state of research about this rising practice and identifying gaps and puzzles that deserve further investigation. To do so, we examine a total of 162 academic papers in the fields of management, economics, sociology, and public policy, and analyze their content in a systematic fashion. We distinguish four main lines of inquiry within the literature: the essence of corporate philanthropy, its different drivers, the way it is organized, and its likely outcomes. After reviewing the main findings of the literature, we build on several research gaps to highlight directions for future research on corporate philanthropy with an interest in strengthening our understanding of this fascinating phenomenon at the crossroads of business and society.


Corporate philanthropy Corporate social responsibility Corporate giving Corporate contributions Literature review Meta-analysis 



Chief Executive Officer


Corporate Social Responsibility


Non-Governmental Organization


Small and Medium-sized Enterprise


United Kingdom


United States



The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers who provided feedback and suggestions to an earlier version of the article. We are also thankful to Amanda Williams for her early assistance in reviewing the literature.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESSEC Business SchoolCergy-PontoiseFrance

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