Do environmental and social risks affect corporate financial policies?
47 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021
Date Written: May 15, 2020
We investigate the effects of heightened corporate social responsibility (CSR) risk, through environmental and social (E&S) incidents, on corporate financial policies. We test for this relation by investigating changes in corporate financial policies of unaffected but at-risk firms after an E&S incident. We find that firms draw down on cash holding, cut capital expenditure and borrow more debt. The changes in financial policies coincide with an increase in CSR investment, which in turn helps preventing future E&S incidents. The reaction is more pronounced in firms with weaker reputational capital and corporate governance due to their inability to absorb adverse CSR shocks. Overall, our analysis suggests that firms are responsive to heightened CSR risk.
Keywords: ESG; CSR; corporate decision making; investment decisions; financing decisions; cash holdings; CSR investment; reputational capital
JEL Classification: G31, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation