Dangers of a Double-Bottom Line: A Poverty Targeting Experiment Misses Both Targets
20 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2018 Last revised: 18 Dec 2019
Date Written: March 1, 2018
Two for-profit Philippine social enterprises, aiming to demonstrate corporate social responsibility by increasing microlending to the poor, incorporated a widely-used poverty measurement tool into their loan applications and tested the tool using randomized training content. Treated loan officers were instructed why and how to use the tool for targeting; control group training merely labeled the tool “additional household information.” The targeting training backfired, leading to no additional poor applicants and lower-performing loans. Descriptive evidence suggests the targeting training exacerbated loan officer misperceptions and multitasking problems. Our results help explain why corporate social responsibility efforts are often siloed from core operations.
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, double-bottom line, multi-tasking, social business, poverty targeting, discrimination, microfinance, microcredit
JEL Classification: D12, D22, D92, G21, O12, O16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation