Does national culture influence corporate carbon disclosure propensity?

Laura Le Luo, Qingliang Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the influence of culture on management’s response to the challenge of climate change, as manifested in firms’ voluntary participation in carbon disclosure via the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). We argue that national culture impacts managerial attitudes and philosophies about environmental protection and thus affects the willingness as well as the extent to which managers recognize the need for emissions control and disclosure. Based on a sample of 1,762 firms from 33 countries, we find that cultural dimensions of masculinity, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance are strongly and consistently related to carbon disclosure propensity, regardless of whether G. Hofstede, G. J. Hofstede, and Minkov (2010) or Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) culture measures are used. Our results also show individualism and long-term orientation has significant impact under the Hofstede measure, although not under GLOBE measures, after controlling for other compounding factors. In addition, our evidence implies that national culture may moderate the effect of carbon control mechanisms, such as emissions trading schemes. Finally, the empirical evidence indicates that the impact of culture is not sensitive to national wealth and industry membership. The findings suggest culture exerts incremental influences beyond economic and regulatory incentives and therefore should be adequately considered in the combat against global warming and particularly in negotiations for an international climate agreement that is more acceptable to societies with disparate cultural backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-47
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of International Accounting Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon disclosure propensity
  • Climate change
  • National culture


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