Socially Responsible Firms

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2014-043

TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2014-029

43 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 12 Aug 2014

See all articles by Allen Ferrell

Allen Ferrell

Harvard Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Hao Liang

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Luc Renneboog

Tilburg University - Department of Finance; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 29, 2014

Abstract

In the corporate finance tradition starting with Berle & Means (1923), corporations should generally be run so as to maximize shareholder value. The agency view of corporate social responsibility (CSR) generally considers CSR as a managerial agency problem and a waste of corporate resources, since corporate insiders do good with other people’s money. We evaluate this agency view using large-scale datasets with global coverage (59 countries) on firm-level corporate engagement and compliance with respect to environmental, social, and governance issues. Using an instrumental variable approach, we document that CSR ratings are higher for companies with fewer agency problems (using standard proxies such as having lower levels of free cash flow and higher dividend payout and leverage ratios). Moreover, certain aspects of CSR (e.g., environmental, labor and social protection) are associated with increased executive pay-for-performance sensitivity and the maximization of shareholder value.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, agency problems, value enhancement, corporate

JEL Classification: G30, G32, M14

Suggested Citation

Ferrell, Allen and Liang, Hao and Renneboog, Luc, Socially Responsible Firms (July 29, 2014). CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2014-043, TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2014-029, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2473502

Allen Ferrell (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Griswold 303 1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 495-8961 (Phone)
(617) 495-1110 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
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1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Hao Liang

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business ( email )

469 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 912409
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://business.smu.edu.sg/faculty/profile/130396/LIANG-Hao

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Luc Renneboog

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Warandelaan 2
5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands
+13 31 466 8210 (Phone)
+13 31 466 2875 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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