Is Corporate Social Responsibility an Agency Problem? Evidence from CEO Turnovers
33 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2014
We empirically examine two competing claims: first, if a firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity is driven by its CEO’s private rent extraction (i.e. an agency problem), firms with higher CSR ratings are poorly governed and their managers are less likely to be dismissed for poor financial performance. In contrast, if CSR reflects owners’ preferences, CEOs of firms with higher CSR ratings are more likely to be removed in light of poor financial performance. We find that CEO turnover-financial performance sensitivity increases in firm CSR scores during the last years of both the outgoing CEO as well as his predecessor. Further, firm CSR ratings do not change following CEO turnover suggesting that CSR ratings are a firm characteristic. Our findings are consistent with the view that CSR is driven by shareholder preferences.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, CEO turnover, Corporate Governance.
JEL Classification: G34, L21, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation