The Heterogeneous Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities that Target Different Stakeholders
44 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 28, 2013
We aggregate different dimensions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities following the stakeholder framework proposed in Clarkson (1995) and present consistent evidence that CSR strengths targeting different stakeholders have their unique impact on firm risk and financial performance. Institutional CSR (ICSR) activities that target secondary stakeholders are negatively associated with firm risk, measured by total risk and systematic risk. Technical CSR (TCSR) that target primary stakeholders are positively associated with firm financial performance, measured by Tobin’s Q, ROA, and cash flow returns. Our results, based on a sample of S&P 500 component firms over the period of 1995-2009, are consistent with the risk management view of “altruistic” CSR activities and with the stakeholder salience theory. We also show that the impact of CSR activities on risk varies with the ethical climate, as proved in our sub-sample analyses on pre- and post-Sarbanes-Oxley periods. Our empirical analyses mitigate possible omitted variables and endogeneity concerns that are often overlooked in previous research. Our findings are robust to alternative CSR measures, to alternative risk, and performance measures, and to alternative estimation methods.
Keywords: institutional CSR, technical CSR, firm risk, financial performance
JEL Classification: G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation