Competing for Government Procurement Contracts: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility

67 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015 Last revised: 6 Nov 2017

Date Written: July 31, 2017

Abstract

This study examines whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) improves firms' competitiveness in the market for government procurement contracts. To obtain exogenous variation in firms' social engagement, I exploit a quasi-natural experiment provided by the enactment of state-level constituency statutes, which allow directors to consider stakeholders' interests when making business decisions. Using constituency statutes as instrumental variable (IV) for CSR, I find that companies with higher CSR receive more procurement contracts. The effect is stronger for more complex contracts and in the early years of the government-company relationship, suggesting that CSR helps mitigate information asymmetries by signaling trustworthiness. Moreover, the effect is stronger in competitive industries, indicating that CSR can serve as a differentiation strategy to compete against other bidders.

Keywords: government procurement contracts; corporate social responsibility; non-market strategy; information asymmetry; trust

JEL Classification: D82, H57, M14

Suggested Citation

Flammer, Caroline, Competing for Government Procurement Contracts: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility (July 31, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2548750 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2548750

Caroline Flammer (Contact Author)

Boston University ( email )

Boston University Questrom School of Business
595 Commonwealth Avenue, Office 634A
Boston, MA 02215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.bu.edu/cflammer/

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