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Natural Disasters and Corporate Philanthropy: A Double Movement Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2023

Guoguang Wan*
Nanjing University, China
Heli Wang
Singapore Management University, Singapore
Xuesong Geng
Singapore Management University, Singapore
Kenneth G. Huang
National University of Singapore, Singapore
Corresponding author: Guoguang Wan (


This study examines Chinese corporations’ responses to a sudden natural disaster in terms of their philanthropic donations. We apply Polanyi's double movement perspective to argue that rapid market expansion in an emerging economy causes social problems such as large-income disparities and environmental degradation. This calls forth counterforces advocating social responsibility and sustainability. Such countermovements can be strengthened by a major disaster, especially in the domain of corporate philanthropy. The resulting increase in corporate philanthropy persists long after the disaster, especially for those firms with large intra-firm pay disparities, operating in socially contested industries and located in regions with more social foundations. Using the context of China's 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, we find support for these arguments in a sample of Chinese public firms.



Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The International Association for Chinese Management Research

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ACCEPTED BY Senior Editor Yanlong Zhang



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