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“It Pays to be Green” – A Premature Conclusion?

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  • Kjetil Telle

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Abstract

It has been claimed that good environmental performance can improve firms’ economic performance. However, because of e.g. data limitations, the methods applied in most previous quantitative empirical studies on effects of environmental performance on economic performance of firms suffer from several shortcomings. We discuss these shortcomings and conclude that previously applied methods are unsatisfactory as support for a conclusion that it pays for firms to be green. Then we illustrate the consequences of these shortcomings by performing several regression analyses of the effect of environmental performance on economic performance using a panel data set of Norwegian plants. A pooled regression where observable firm characteristics like e.g. size or industry are controlled for, confirms a positive effect of environmental performance on economic performance. However, the estimated positive effect could be due to omitted unobserved variables like management or technology. When the regression model controls for unobserved plant heterogeneity, the effect is generally no longer statistically significant. Hence, although greener plants tend to perform economically better, the analysis provides little support for the claim that it is because they are greener. These empirical findings further indicate that a conclusion that it pays to be green is premature. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-006-9013-3
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 195-220

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:35:y:2006:i:3:p:195-220

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: economic performance; environmental performance; environmental regulations; pays to be green; Q25; Q28; K23;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Schmidt, Peter & Wagner, Marcus & Ziegler, Andreas, 2013. "Does the stock market value the inclusion in a sustainability stock index? An event study analysis for German firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 497-509.
  2. Johan Graafland & Corrie Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, 2012. "Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 377-396, December.
  3. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Thorburn, Karin S., 2011. "Voluntary corporate environmental initiatives and shareholder wealth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 430-445.
  4. Thierry Bréchet & Sylvette Ly, 2013. "The many traps of green technology promotion," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 15(1), pages 73-91, January.
  5. Andreas Ziegler, 2009. "Is it Beneficial to be Included in a Sustainability Stock Index? A Panel Data Study for European Firms," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/121, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  6. Emilio Galdeano-Gómez, 2008. "Does an Endogenous Relationship Exist between Environmental and Economic Performance? A Resource-Based View on the Horticultural Sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(1), pages 73-89, May.
  7. Ziegler, Andreas & Schröder, Michael, 2010. "What determines the inclusion in a sustainability stock index?: A panel data analysis for european firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 848-856, February.
  8. Timo Busch & Nils Lehmann & Volker H. Hoffmann, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Negative Externalities, and Financial Risk: The Case of Climate Change," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-102/IV/DSF40, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Böhringer, Christoph & Moslener, Ulf & Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Ziegler, Andreas, 2012. "Clean and productive? Empirical evidence from the German manufacturing industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 442-451.
  10. Md. Al Mamun & Kazi Sohog & Ayesha Akhter, 2013. "A Dynamic Panel Analysis of the Financial Determinants of CSR in Bangladeshi Banking Industry," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(5), pages 560-578, May.
  11. Will Gans & Beat Hintermann, 2013. "Market Effects of Voluntary Climate Action by Firms: Evidence from the Chicago Climate Exchange," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 55(2), pages 291-308, June.
  12. Ghisetti, Claudia & Rennings, Klaus, 2013. "Environmental innovations and profitability: How does it pay to be green? An empirical analysis on the German innovation survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-073, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  13. Ziegler, Andreas & Schröder, Michael, 2006. "What Determines the Inclusion in a Sustainability Stock Index? A Panel Data Analysis for European Companies," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-41, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  14. Timo Busch & Nils Lehmann & Volker H. Hoffmann, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Negative Externalities, and Financial Risk: The Case of Climate Change," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-102/IV/DSF40, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Ziegler, Andreas & Busch, Timo & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2011. "Disclosed corporate responses to climate change and stock performance: An international empirical analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1283-1294.
  16. Horváthová, Eva, 2012. "The impact of environmental performance on firm performance: Short-term costs and long-term benefits?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 91-97.
  17. Joaquín Cañón-de-Francia & Concepción Garcés-Ayerbe, 2009. "ISO 14001 Environmental Certification: A Sign Valued by the Market?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(2), pages 245-262, October.
  18. Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi & Sanja Pekovic, 2013. "Is Business Performance Related to the Adoption of Quality and Environmental-Related Standards?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(4), pages 525-548, April.
  19. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Nyborg, Karine, 2008. "Attracting responsible employees: Green production as labor market screening," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 509-526, December.
  20. Horváthová, Eva, 2010. "Does environmental performance affect financial performance? A meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 52-59, November.
  21. Urs von Arx & Andreas Ziegler, 2008. "The Effect of CSR on Stock Performance: New Evidence for the USA and Europe," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/85, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.

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