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 Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-08-12.
Date of creation: 25 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
corporate social responsibility; voluntary environmental performance;
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.
- Stavins, Robert & Reinhardt, Forest & Vietor, Richard, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility through an Economic Lens," Working Paper Series rwp08-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- 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.
- M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
- Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-06-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2008-06-21 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-PPM-2008-06-21 (Project, Program & Portfolio Management)
- NEP-SOC-2008-06-21 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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