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Religious Belief, Corporate Philanthropy, and Political Involvement of Entrepreneurs in Chinese Family Firms

Abstract

This study examines whether religious belief influences an entrepreneur’s political involvement and further explores the moderating role of corporate philanthropy. Using the data from the 2008 national survey of Chinese family firms, my study provides strong evidence to show that the likelihood of political involvement is significantly higher for entrepreneurs with religious beliefs than for their counterparts, suggesting that religious entrepreneurs in Chinese family firms are more likely to participate in political affairs. This finding echoes the view that religious believers acquire civic skills through their associational memberships or experience in involving religious activities. In addition, corporate philanthropy attenuates the positive association between religious belief and political involvement. The above findings are robust to a variety of sensitivity tests and are still valid after controlling for the potential endogeneity between political involvement and religious belief.

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Notes

  1. The investigation conducted by CRCSPU (2007) covered randomly selected three municipalities, six provincial capitals, eleven prefecture-level cities, sixteen towns, and twenty villages. Moreover, the surveyed respondents included 7,021 residents whose ages ranged from 16 to 75 and they were face to face inquiries about 80 problems.

  2. Results are not qualitatively changed by deleting the top/bottom 1 % of the sample, no deletion, or no winsorization.

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Acknowledgments

I acknowledge my great thanks to Prof. Samuel Natale (the section editor of "Value-Based Management") and one reviewer for their constructive comments. I also appreciate comments from Jianying Weng, Jinhui Luo, Hongmei Pei, Yingying Chang, Xue Tan, Quan Zeng, and participants of my presentations (Informal Systems Research in China: China’s Realities and Research Opportunities) at Xiamen University, Anhui University, Shandong university, Ocean University of China, and Shanghai University. Especially, I must acknowledge my great thanks to Professor Di Cai and Quan Zeng for generously providing the original survey data and excellent research assistance for this study, respectively. This study is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (the approval number: 71072053), the Key Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Science in Ministry of Education (the approval number: 13JJD790027), and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (the approval number: 20120121110007).

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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Xingqiang Du.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 8.

Table 8 Variable definitions

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Du, X. Religious Belief, Corporate Philanthropy, and Political Involvement of Entrepreneurs in Chinese Family Firms. J Bus Ethics 142, 385–406 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2705-2

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Keywords

  • Religious belief
  • Political involvement
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Corporate philanthropy
  • Chinese family firms