This study examines the association of corporate sustainability management with earnings transparency. Based on previous studies that indicate that sustainability management activities reduce earnings management and corporate risk and increase a firm’s value, this study predicts that the firms with effective sustainability management will have a high earnings transparency. In addition, this study examines the differential effect of corporate sustainability management on earnings transparency according to whether or not a firm belongs to a chaebol. We use Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings of the Korean Corporate Governance Service (KCGS) as a proxy for corporate sustainability management and apply the method of Cheng and Subramanyam (2008) to measure earnings transparency. The empirical results show that there is a significant positive relationship between corporate sustainability management and earnings transparency. Furthermore, the association between corporate sustainability management and earnings transparency is more negative for firms belonging to a chaebol. These results indirectly show that firms belonging to a chaebol have a lower level of information asymmetry than firms not belonging to a chaebol. This study focuses on corporate sustainability management as a determinant of earnings transparency, and is useful for examining the effect of belonging to a chaebol on the relationship between sustainability management and earnings transparency. Our results are expected to provide important implications not only for managers, but also for investors and regulators.
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