Media, Partisan Ideology, and Corporate Social Responsibility
62 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2022
Date Written: March 1, 2021
We study the effect of partisan media on firms' corporate social responsibility using the staggered expansion of Sinclair Broadcast Group: the largest conservative network in the U.S. local TV markets. CSR ratings decline in all dimensions: environmental, social, and governance. The effect runs through two mutually non-exclusive channels: change in local ideology and reduction in local coverage. We provide evidence consistent with the first channel based on public opinion surveys, election results, and firms' political contributions. Consistent with the second channel, the effect is larger for firms with higher customer awareness, low institutional ownership, in sin industries, and Sinclair-dominated markets.
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, partisan media, political ideology
JEL Classification: G34, D72, L82, M14
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