Competition Laws, Ownership and Corporate Social Responsibility
45 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 7, 2020
Theory offers differing perspectives and predictions about the impact of product market competition on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Using firm-level data on CSR from 2002 through 2015 and panel data on competition laws in 48 countries, we discover that intensifying competition induces firms to increase CSR activities as a strategy for strengthening relationships with workers, suppliers, and customers. The CSR-enhancing effects of competition depend on corporate ownership, with smaller effects among block-holders with shorter horizons (e.g., hedge funds) and among family-controlled firms. Furthermore, the competition-CSR effect is stronger (a) among less financially constrained firms that are better positioned to boost CSR activities and (b) in economies where social norms prioritize CSR activities, as this is where the relationship building effect of CSR are likely to be the greatest.
Keywords: Competition Laws, Antitrust, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ownership
JEL Classification: K21, L4, M14, G3, Z13
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