This contribution investigates the responsible conduct of businesses in emerging markets, with a focus on the ‘transitional’ economies from the Central-Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In more detail, the study analyses the relationship between business ethical behavior and the other determinants of competitiveness/productivity. After a theoretical review of literature, a cross-country empirical analysis has been conducted in order to test the hypotheses: data and information from 21 economies drawn from an international executive opinion survey along 8 years are thus scrutinized. It emerges that business ethics (in more recent years not improved) is positively associated especially with some specific corporate governance/performance issues (as the protection of both minority shareholders’ and investors’ interests), as well as with the financial market development; in turn, ethics thrives especially where quality of public institutions and infrastructures is reputed more satisfying and reliable. The findings are robust and for comparison purposes the investigation was repeated to a sample of (17) developing Asian markets, counting China and other “neighbors”. The study can be included in the business ethics academic research framework, a branch of CSR and business & society literature, with the scope to explain the major features and context conditions of business ethics among several determinants in challenging economies, evidencing the relation with indicators and sub-indicators of competitiveness achieved in recent times.
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