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How a Two-Step Approach Discloses Different Determinants of Voluntary Social and Environmental Reporting


  • Lies Bouten,

  • Patricia Everaert,

  • Robin W. Roberts

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    • The authors are respectively from Iéseg School of Management and Lille Economie et Management – CNRS; Ghent University; and the University of Central Florida. They are grateful for the financial support provided by the BOF research fund of Ghent University. In addition, suggestions from and/or discussions with Charles Cho, Bart Cockx, Lieven De Moor, Rob Gray, Carlos Larrinaga-González, Den Patten, David Power and Luc Van Liedekerke were very much appreciated. The authors would also like to acknowledge the helpful comments received from the participants at the EAA Annual Conference in Tampere, 12-15 May, 2009, the CSEAR summer school, St. Andrews, 2-4 September, 2009 and the CSEAR conference in North-America, Orlando, 4-6 January, 2010. The authors wish to thank the anonymous referee and the editor for their constructive comments that significantly improved the paper.

Lies Bouten, Iéseg School of Management and Lille Economie et Management – CNRS, 3 rue de la Digue, 59000 Lille, France. e-mail:


Abstract:  Previous research on the determinants of voluntary social and environmental disclosure assumes that the determinants underlying the company's decision to disclose and the disclosure level are the same. This paper addresses the influence of this assumption on: (i) the operationalization of the dependent variables; (ii) the estimation method; and (iii) the subsequent empirical results, using both a sample of listed Belgian and US firms. Overall, the findings suggest that not distinguishing between the determinants underlying the decision to disclose and the disclosure level may be misleading.