The influence of audit committee characteristics on voluntary corporate social responsibility disclosure: Australian evidence
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 15:47 by Shamim Tashakor
Recent regulatory changes due to high profile corporate collapses have attempted to rebuild confidence in corporate governance systems by enhancing voluntary disclosure. This study examines the influence of audit committee characteristics on voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure. Drawing on agency theory, the study develops hypotheses about relationships between voluntary CSR disclosure and audit committee characteristics such as the size of the committee, frequency of audit committee meetings, audit committee independence, financial expertise and gender representation. The study uses multiple regression analysis on data collected from the corporate annual reports of 181 listed companies in Australia. The findings indicate that audit committee characteristics such as the proportion of audit committee independent members, frequency of audit committee meetings, and size of the audit committee bear a significant positive influence on the level of CSR disclosure. However, there is no evidence that audit committee characteristics such as the presence of an independent chair, financial expertise and the presence of females on the audit committee have a significant effect on CSR disclosure. The findings of this study should be of particular interest to regulators, shareholders, investment analysts and managers in Australia.