Board diversity and intellectual capital disclosure of Chinese-listed firms with Belt and Road Initiative projects

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Purpose – Chinese-listed firms with Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) play a crucial role in advancing the outward investment policy of China. Board diversity can be vital, and intellectual capital disclosure (ICD) showing future earnings can build investor confidence in these firms. This study examines these two relationships in Chinese-listed firms with BRI projects during a predictable business outlook period (2019, pre-Covid period) and unpredictable business outlook period (2020, Covid period).
Design/methodology/approach – The study used least squares regression that analysed the target population comprising 79 listed Chinese firms with BRI projects in 2019 and 2020. The China Stock Market and Accounting Research (CSMAR) database provided board diversity data. Analysing annual reports using content analysis provided the ICD data, collected by following an established intellectual capital (IC) coding framework in the literature. After collecting board-related data, the study calculated the diversity between boards in firms (diversity of boards – DOB) using cluster analysis. The study estimated the diversity within each board (diversity in boards – DIB) using Blau’s Index.
Findings – The findings indicate that in the predictable business outlook environment, DOB positively associates with ICD, and DIB negatively associates with ICD. In the unpredictable business outlook environment, the DIB and DOB interaction negatively associates with ICD, and DOB positively associates with ICD.
Research limitations/implications – The findings apply to Chinese-listed firms with BRI projects and further research is required to generalise findings beyond them. This study used annual reports to collect ICD, but a future study could examine BRI firms’ social media and website disclosures. The attributes selected for board diversity dimensions can contribute to bounded findings, and future studies could expand the board diversity attributes included.
Practical implications – The findings provide insights into firms’ board composition and structure associated with ICD.
Originality/value – This is one of the first studies providing empirical evidence about board diversity and ICD of Chinese-listed firms with BRI projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Intellectual Capital
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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