Panel Paper: Understanding Nonprofit Transparency in China

Monday, July 29, 2019
40.012 - Level 0 (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ning Liu, City University of Hong Kong, Xueyong Zhan, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Carlos Wing-Hung Lo, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

In the existing literature, nonprofit transparency has become an increasingly important topic in the study of public policy and management. In western countries, nonprofit organizations’ voluntary disclosure of financial and operational information has been primarily driven by well-established institutional incentives. However, information disclosure of nonprofit organizations in non-western contexts has been overlooked in public management research. In this paper, we have addressed this gap by applying legitimacy theory to examine the transparency of nonprofit organizations in China, a non-Western setting. By using two unique data sets of philanthropic foundations and environmental NGOs (with around 200 organizations in each data set), we examine the political and institutional antecedents of financial and managerial information disclosure among environmental philanthropic foundations and environmental NGOs in China. On one hand, we have studied the implications of government control for nonprofit accountability in authoritarian and transitioning countries. On the other hand, we also test whether contextual factors, such as government transparency and nonprofit density, will moderate the relationship between a few key intendent variables and the level of nonprofit transparency. This paper concludes with the discussions on the policy implications of this research for nonprofit governance.