Corporate Social Responsibility through an Economic Lens
AbstractBusiness leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should we think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e., is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-023.
Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Other versions of this item:
- Forest L. Reinhardt & Robert N. Stavins & Richard H. K. Vietor, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 219-239, Summer.
- Reinhardt, Forest L. & Stavins, Robert N. & Vietor, Richard H.K., 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens," Discussion Papers dp-08-12, Resources For the Future.
- Forest L. Reinhardt & Robert N. Stavins & Richard H. K. Vietor, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens," NBER Working Papers 13989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert N. Stavins & Forest L. Reinhardt & Richard H. K. Vietor, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens," Working Papers 2008.84, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Reinhardt, Forest L. & Stavins, Robert N. & Vietor, Richard H. K., 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens," Working paper 229, Regulation2point0.
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-08-31 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2008-08-31 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2008-08-31 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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