How Do Independent Directors View Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) During a Stressful Time? Evidence From the Financial Crisis

44 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2020

See all articles by Pandej Chintrakarn

Pandej Chintrakarn

Mahidol University International College (MUIC)

Pornsit Jiraporn

Pennsylvania State University - School of Graduate Professional Studies (SGPS)

Sirimon Treepongkaruna

The University of Western Australia; Financial Research Network (FIRN)

Date Written: August 17, 2020

Abstract

We explore the effect of board independence on CSR investments during a stressful time, i.e. during the Great Recession. Our results show that independent directors exhibit an unfavorable view of CSR investments during the crisis. Stronger board independence leads to a significant reduction in CSR. In particular, a rise in board independence by one standard deviation reduces CSR investments by about 8.22%. Further analysis shows that managers raised CSR investments during the crisis, consistent with the risk-mitigation view, where managers invest in CSR to reduce their risk exposure. However, managers appear to over-invest in CSR during the crisis as they are forced to cut back in the presence of a strong board, implying that part of the CSR investments during the crisis is motivated by managers’ own risk preference. Additional robustness checks corroborate the results, including fixed- and random-effects regressions, propensity score matching, and instrumental-variable analysis. Our study is the first to shed light on how independent directors view CSR during a stressful time. Finally, we show that CSR reduces firm risk substantially during the crisis, strongly confirming the risk-mitigation hypothesis.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Independent Directors, Board Independence, Corporate Governance, Financial Crisis

JEL Classification: G32, G34, M14

Suggested Citation

Chintrakarn, Pandej and Jiraporn, Pornsit and Treepongkaruna, Sirimon, How Do Independent Directors View Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) During a Stressful Time? Evidence From the Financial Crisis (August 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3675569

Pandej Chintrakarn

Mahidol University International College (MUIC) ( email )

999 Buddhamonthon 4 Road
Salaya, Nakhonpathom, 73170
Thailand

Pornsit Jiraporn (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - School of Graduate Professional Studies (SGPS) ( email )

30 E. Swedesford Road
Malvern, PA 19355
United States
(484) 753-3655 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/pxj11/index1.html

Sirimon Treepongkaruna

The University of Western Australia ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia
+61864887853 (Phone)
+61864881086 (Fax)

Financial Research Network (FIRN)

C/- University of Queensland Business School
St Lucia, 4071 Brisbane
Queensland
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.firn.org.au

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