| HBS Working Paper Series
Causes and Consequences of Firms' Self-Reported Anticorruption Efforts
We use Transparency International's ratings of self-reported anticorruption efforts for 480 corporations to examine factors underlying firms' efforts and their consequences. We find that firms with high anticorruption efforts are domiciled in countries with low corruption ratings and strong anticorruption enforcement, operate in high corruption risk industries, have recently faced a corruption enforcement action, employ a Big Four audit firm, and have a higher percentage of independent directors. Controlling for these effects, we find that firms with abnormally low anticorruption efforts have relatively higher subsequent media allegations of corruption. They also report higher future sales growth and show a negative relation between profitability change and sales growth in high corruption geographic segments compared to firms with high anticorruption efforts. The net effect on valuation from sales growth and profitability is close to zero. We conclude that, on average, firms' self-reported anticorruption efforts reflect real efforts to combat corruption and are not merely cheap talk.
Crime and Corruption;
Growth and Development;