Corporate Social Responsibility as an Employee Governance Tool: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment
47 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2014 Last revised: 5 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 3, 2015
This study examines whether companies employ corporate social responsibility (CSR) to improve employee engagement and mitigate adverse behavior at the workplace (e.g., shirking, absenteeism, etc.). We exploit plausibly exogenous changes in state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from 1991 to 2013. Higher UI benefits reduce the cost of being unemployed and hence increase employees' incentives to engage in adverse behavior. We find that higher UI benefits are associated with higher engagement in employee-related CSR. This finding suggests that companies use CSR as a strategic management tool -- specifically, an employee governance tool -- to increase employee engagement and counter the possibility of adverse behavior. We further examine plausible mechanisms underlying this relationship.
Keywords: employee engagement; adverse behavior; employee governance; corporate social responsibility; unemployment insurance
JEL Classification: D8; J3; J4; J65; L1; M1; M5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation