Is Corporate Tax Aggressiveness a Reputation Threat? Corporate Accountability, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Corporate Tax Behavior

Lisa Baudot, Joseph Johnson, Anna Roberts, Robin Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we consider the relationships among corporate accountability, reputation, and tax behavior as a corporate social responsibility issue. As part of our investigation, we provide empirical examples of corporate reputation and corporate tax behaviors using a sample of large, U.S.-based multinational companies. In addition, we utilize corporate tax controversies to illustrate possibilities for aggressive corporate tax behaviors of high-profile multinationals to become a reputation threat. Finally, we consider whether reputation serves as an accountability mechanism for corporate tax behaviors among other mechanisms for holding firms accountable for corporate tax behaviors. Our conceptual work points to a complicated relationship among shareholder, stakeholder, and civic responsibilities in the development and execution of firm’s corporate tax strategies. Building on those insights, our empirical illustration considers corporate reputation data alongside data which reflects corporate tax behavior. Based on this work, we find no clear trend or pattern indicating that reputation is associated with or affected by certain types of corporate tax behaviors. That is, our exploratory empirical illustration suggests that corporate tax behavior does not produce broad reputational consequences that would motivate a change in firm behavior. Drawing from celebrity and strategic silence research, we then suggest that reputation may not be a well-functioning mechanism for holding corporations to account for contributing their fair share of the resources used by government for the benefit of society and offer-related theoretical insights.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Early online date8 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2020

Cite this