The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Hard-Freezing of Pension Plan and Firm Performance

Seokyoun Hwang, Philip Keejae Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the hard-freezing of defined benefit pension plans. Although cost savings associated with a pension freeze are expected to lead to improved future performance, prior studies do not provide conclusive empirical evidence to support enhanced firm performances following pension freezes. In this study, we examine how firms’ commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially their commitment to employee relations, affects their decision to freeze pension plans, and how firms’ CSR activities affect the association between the pension freeze and their post-freeze performance. First, we find no evidence that firms with a high overall CSR score are less likely to freeze their pension plans, but we find supporting evidence that firms with a high CSR score on the employee relation aspect are less likely to freeze their pension plans. In addition, we find that the pension freeze has a positive impact on the firm’s future performance, as measured by the return on assets, for the firms with high CSR scores.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • corporate social responsibility
  • employee relations
  • firm performance
  • pension accounting
  • pension cost
  • pension freeze

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