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Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective

  • Thomas P. Lyon
  • John W. Maxwell

We survey the growing theoretical literature on the motives for and welfare effects of corporate greening. We show how both market and political forces are making environmental CSR profitable, and we also discuss morally-motivated or altruistic CSR. Welfare effects of CSR are subtle and situation-contingent, and there is no guarantee that CSR enhances social welfare. We identify numerous areas in which additional theoretical work is needed.

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

Volume (Year): 2 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 240-260

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Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:2:y:2008:i:2:p:240-260
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  12. Timothy J. Feddersen & Thomas W. Gilligan, 2001. "Saints and Markets: Activists and the Supply of Credence Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 149-171, 03.
  13. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
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  15. Blackman, Allen & Lyon, Thomas P. & Sisto, Nicholas, 2006. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements when Regulatory Capacity Is Weak," Discussion Papers dp-06-30, Resources For the Future.
  16. Zhihao Yu, 2003. "Environmental Protection: A Theory of Direct and Indirect Competition for Political Influence," Carleton Economic Papers 03-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  17. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
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  19. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2003. "A bargaining model of voluntary environmental agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2725-2736, December.
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  22. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2004. "Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 561-597, December.
  23. Baron, David P., 2006. "A Positive Theory of Moral Management, Social Pressure, and Corporate Social Performance," Research Papers 1940, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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  28. David P. Baron, 2005. "Competing for the Public Through the News Media," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 339-376, 06.
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  30. Lutz, Stefan & Lyon, Thomas P & Maxwell, John W, 2000. "Quality Leadership When Regulatory Standards Are Forthcoming," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 331-48, September.
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