Corporate giving and corporate financial performance: the S-curve relationship 

  • Yongqiang GaoEmail author
  • Haibin Yang
  • Taïeb Hafsi


The relationship between corporate giving and corporate financial performance has remained inconclusive after decades of research. This study advances our understanding by contending that stakeholders may react differently to a firm’s various levels of corporate philanthropic giving. The relationship between corporate giving and firm performance could be better captured using an S-curve shape in that either a low or high level of corporate giving will reduce, while a moderate level of corporate giving will increase, firm performance. We further examine the moderating effects of firm ownership and regional development. We contend that stakeholders may have higher expectations for the social performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) versus private-owned enterprises (POEs), resulting in a lower performance effect for SOEs with the same amount of corporate giving. Similarly, stakeholders in developed regions are also likely to have higher expectations for corporate giving, leading to a lower performance effect for the same level of corporate giving. Analyses of listed firms in China during the period from 2003 to 2013 support our thesis.


Corporate giving Corporate financial performance Non-linear relationships Private-owned enterprise; state-owned enterprise 



We would like to thank senior editor, Professor Ajai Gaur, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. We are also grateful for the financial support from Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71772071, No. 71372131, No.71402061).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhan CityPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of BusinessCity University of Hong KongKowloonChina
  3. 3.HEC, University of Montreal3000 Côte Ste-CatherineMontrealCanada

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