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Are red or blue companies more likely to go green? Politics and corporate social responsibility

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  • Di Giuli, Alberta
  • Kostovetsky, Leonard

Abstract

Using the firm-level corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings of Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini, we find that firms score higher on CSR when they have Democratic rather than Republican founders, CEOs, and directors, and when they are headquartered in Democratic rather than Republican-leaning states. Democratic-leaning firms spend $20 million more on CSR than Republican-leaning firms ($80 million more within the sample of S&P 500 firms), or roughly 10% of net income. We find no evidence that firms recover these expenditures through increased sales. Indeed, increases in firm CSR ratings are associated with negative future stock returns and declines in firm ROA, suggesting that any benefits to stakeholders from social responsibility come at the direct expense of firm value.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Giuli, Alberta & Kostovetsky, Leonard, 2014. "Are red or blue companies more likely to go green? Politics and corporate social responsibility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 158-180.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:111:y:2014:i:1:p:158-180
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2013.10.002
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    Keywords

    Corporate social responsibility; Corporate culture; Politics;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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