Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility

27 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2009  

Roland Bénabou

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jean Tirole

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI); University of Toulouse 1 - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Mathématique et Quantitative (GREMAQ); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Abstract

Society's demands for individual and corporate social responsibility as an alternative response to market and distributive failures are becoming increasingly prominent. We first draw on recent developments in the "psychology and economics" of prosocial behavior to shed light on this trend, which reflects a complex interplay of genuine altruism, social or self image concerns, and material incentives. We then link individual concerns to corporate social responsibility, contrasting three possible understandings of the term: the adoption of a more long-term perspective by firms, the delegated exercise of prosocial behavior on behalf of stakeholders, and insider-initiated corporate philanthropy. For both individuals and firms we discuss the benefits, costs and limits of socially responsible behavior as a means to further societal goals.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investment, image concerns, shareholder value

JEL Classification: D64, D78, H41, L31

Suggested Citation

Bénabou, Roland and Tirole, Jean, Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4570. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1515117

Roland Bénabou (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Princeton, NJ 08544
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Jean Tirole

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI) ( email )

Place Anatole France
21 Allees de Brienne
F-31042 Toulouse Cedex
France
+33 5 61 12 8642 (Phone)
+33 5 61 12 8637 (Fax)

University of Toulouse 1 - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Mathématique et Quantitative (GREMAQ) ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
21 Allees de Brienne
Toulouse, 31000
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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