Publication Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

7-2017

Abstract

We investigate how firms react to their peers' adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by using a regression discontinuity design that relies on "locally" exogenous variations of CSR generated by shareholder proposals that pass or fail by a small margin of votes. Specifically, we find that peers of a voting firm who passed a close-call CSR proposal experience lower announcement returns and higher following-year CSR scores compared to those of a voting firm that marginally failed a CSR proposal. Such effects are stronger in peer firms with higher competitive pressure, better CSR performance relative to the voting firm, and a more transparent information environment. We find a more pronounced negative cumulative abnormal returns and a smaller CSR improvement in peer firms with higher financial constraints. Taken together, our empirical results show that peer effects play an important role in shaping firms' CSR performance and further confirm the argument that CSR has strategic value.

Keywords

Corporate social responsibility, peer effects, product markets, shareholder proposal, regression discontinuity

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Research Areas

Finance

First Page

1

Last Page

53

Identifier

10.2139/ssrn.2831834

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2831834

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