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Does The Market Value Environmental Performance?

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  • Shameek Konar
  • Mark A. Cohen

Abstract

Previous studies that attempt to relate environmental to financial performance have often led to conflicting results due to small samples and subjective environmental performance criteria. We report on a study that relates the market value of firms in the S&P 500 to objective measures of their environmental performance. After controlling for variables traditionally thought to explain firm-level financial performance, we find that bad environmental performance is negatively correlated with the intangible asset value of firms. The average "intangible liability" for firms in our sample is $380 million - approximately 9% of the replacement value of tangible assets. We conclude that legally emitted toxic chemicals have a significant effect on the intangible asset value of publicly traded companies. A 10% reduction in emissions of toxic chemicals results in a $34 million increase in market value. The magnitude of these effects varies across industries, with larger losses accruing to the traditionally polluting industries. © 2001 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/00346530151143815
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 83 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 281-289

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:2:p:281-289

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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  1. Carol J. Simon & Mary W. Sullivan, 1993. "The Measurement and Determinants of Brand Equity: A Financial Approach," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 28-52.
  2. Karpoff, Jonathan M & Lott, John R, Jr, 1993. "The Reputational Penalty Firms Bear from Committing Criminal Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 757-802, October.
  3. Hirsch, Barry T, 1991. "Union Coverage and Profitability among U.S. Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 69-77, February.
  4. Lindenberg, Eric B & Ross, Stephen A, 1981. "Tobin's q Ratio and Industrial Organization," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-32, January.
  5. Karen Palmer & Wallace E. Oates & Paul R. Portney, 1995. "Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 119-132, Fall.
  6. Cockburn, Iain & Griliches, Zvi, 1988. "Industry Effects and Appropriability Measures in the Stock Market's Valuation of R&D and Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 419-23, May.
  7. Hirsch, Barry T & Seaks, Terry G, 1993. "Functional Form in Regression Models of Tobin's q," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 381-85, May.
  8. Megna, Pamela & Mueller, Dennis C, 1991. "Profit Rates and Intangible Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 632-42, November.
  9. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  10. Arora Seema & Cason Timothy N., 1995. "An Experiment in Voluntary Environmental Regulation: Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 271-286, May.
  11. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
  12. Hamilton James T., 1995. "Pollution as News: Media and Stock Market Reactions to the Toxics Release Inventory Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 98-113, January.
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