IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The social dimension of firm performance: a data envelopment approach


  • Robert G. Chambers

    (Maryland University
    University of Queensland)

  • Teresa Serra

    (University of Illinois)


A data envelopment model is proposed to quantify the social dimension of firm performance. Corporate social responsibility activities are treated as netputs to production. Production of good outputs and unintended by-products are combined in the overall measurement of firm performance. Our model is illustrated using a sample of global firms and suggests strikingly low social performance levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. Chambers & Teresa Serra, 2018. "The social dimension of firm performance: a data envelopment approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 189-206, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:54:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1135-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-016-1135-z

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murty, Sushama & Russell, R. Robert, 2010. "On modeling pollution-generating technologies," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 931, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Ada Wossink & Zulal Sogutlu Denaux, 2007. "Efficiency and innovation offsets in non-point source pollution control and the role of education," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 79-95.
    3. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-598, October.
    4. Salzmann, Oliver & Ionescu-somers, Aileen & Steger, Ulrich, 2005. "The Business Case for Corporate Sustainability:: Literature Review and Research Options," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 27-36, February.
    5. Kansal, Monika & Joshi, Mahesh & Batra, Gurdip Singh, 2014. "Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosures: Evidence from India," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 217-229.
    6. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    7. Tim Coelli & Ludwig Lauwers & Guido Huylenbroeck, 2007. "Environmental efficiency measurement and the materials balance condition," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 3-12, October.
    8. Banker, Rajiv D. & Chang, Hsihui, 2006. "The super-efficiency procedure for outlier identification, not for ranking efficient units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 175(2), pages 1311-1320, December.
    9. Spangenberg, Joachim H. & Bonniot, Odile, 1998. "Sustainability indicators: A compass on the road towards sustainability," Wuppertal Papers 81, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
    10. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
    11. Isabelle Piot-Lepetit & Dominique Vermersch, 1998. "Pricing organic nitrogen under the weak disposability assumption : an application to the French pig sector," Post-Print hal-02299654, HAL.
    12. Isabelle Piot‐Lepetit & Dominique Vermersch, 1998. "Pricing Organic Nitrogen Under The Weak Disposability Assumption: An Application to the French Pig Sector," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 85-99, March.
    13. Navarro, Peter, 1988. "Why Do Corporations Give to Charity?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 65-93, January.
    14. Gary S. Hansen & Birger Wernerfelt, 1989. "Determinants of firm performance: The relative importance of economic and organizational factors," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(5), pages 399-411, September.
    15. Jensen, Michael C., 2002. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 235-256, April.
    16. Frank de Bakker & André Nijhof, 2002. "Responsible chain management: a capability assessment framework," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(1), pages 63-75, January.
    17. Murty, Sushama & Robert Russell, R. & Levkoff, Steven B., 2012. "On modeling pollution-generating technologies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 117-135.
    18. Reinhard, Stijn & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Thijssen, Geert J., 2000. "Environmental efficiency with multiple environmentally detrimental variables; estimated with SFA and DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 287-303, March.
    19. Beate Littig & Erich Griessler, 2005. "Social sustainability: a catchword between political pragmatism and social theory," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(1/2), pages 65-79.
    20. Stijn Reinhard & C.A. Knox Lovell & Geert Thijssen, 1999. "Econometric Estimation of Technical and Environmental Efficiency: An Application to Dutch Dairy Farms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 44-60.
    21. Thomas Dyllick & Kai Hockerts, 2002. "Beyond the business case for corporate sustainability," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 130-141, March.
    22. Thomas N. Gladwin & Tara-Shelomith Krause & James J. Kennelly, 1995. "Beyond eco-efficiency: Towards socially sustainable business," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(1), pages 35-43.
    23. Lin, Chin-Huang & Yang, Ho-Li & Liou, Dian-Yan, 2009. "The impact of corporate social responsibility on financial performance: Evidence from business in Taiwan," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 56-63.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Puggioni, Daniela & Stefanou, Spiro E., 2019. "The value of being socially responsible: A primal-dual approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 276(3), pages 1090-1103.
    2. Xuetong Wang & Wenyong Lai & Xiangnan Song & Chen Lu, 2018. "Implementation Efficiency of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Construction Industry: A China Study," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 15(9), pages 1-21, September.
    3. Magdalena Kapelko & Alfons Oude Lansink & Encarna Guillamon‐Saorin, 2021. "Corporate social responsibility and dynamic productivity change in the US food and beverage manufacturing industry," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 37(2), pages 286-305, April.
    4. Mika Goto & Toshiyuki Sueyoshi, 2020. "Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility in Japanese manufacturing companies," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 844-856, July.
    5. Magdalena Kapelko & Alfons Oude Lansink, 2022. "Measuring firms' dynamic inefficiency accounting for corporate social responsibility in the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing industry," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 44(4), pages 1702-1721, December.
    6. Amer Ait Sidhoum & K Hervé Dakpo & Laure Latruffe, 2022. "Trade-offs between economic, environmental and social sustainability on farms using a latent class frontier efficiency model: Evidence for Spanish crop farms," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, January.
    7. Annika Maren Schneider & Eva-Maria Oppel & Jonas Schreyögg, 2020. "Investigating the link between medical urgency and hospital efficiency – Insights from the German hospital market," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 649-660, December.
    8. Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki & Goto, Mika, 2019. "The intermediate approach to sustainability enhancement and scale-related measures in environmental assessment," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 276(2), pages 744-756.
    9. F. Ang & K. H. Dakpo, 2021. "Comment: Performance measurement and joint production of intended and unintended outputs," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 185-188, June.
    10. Jean-Philippe Boussemart & Hervé Leleu & Zhiyang Shen & Vivian Valdmanis, 2020. "Performance analysis for three pillars of sustainability," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 305-320, June.
    11. Richard D. Smart & Amer Ait Sidhoum & Johannes Sauer, 2022. "Decomposition of efficiency in the global seed industry: A nonparametric approach," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 43(6), pages 2133-2147, September.
    12. Chunguang Quan & Shasha Yu & Xiaojuan Cheng & Feiyue Liu, 2022. "Comprehensive efficiency evaluation of social responsibility of Chinese listed logistics enterprises based on DEA-Malmquist model," Operations Management Research, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 1383-1398, December.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Serra, Teresa & Chambers, Robert G. & Oude Lansink, Alfons, 2014. "Measuring technical and environmental efficiency in a state-contingent technology," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 236(2), pages 706-717.
    2. Zhou, Haibo & Yang, Yi & Chen, Yao & Zhu, Joe, 2018. "Data envelopment analysis application in sustainability: The origins, development and future directions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 264(1), pages 1-16.
    3. Magambo, Isaiah & Dikgang, Johane & Gelo, Dambala & Tregenna, Fiona, 2021. "Environmental and Technical Efficiency in Large Gold Mines in Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 108068, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Aparicio, Juan & Kapelko, Magdalena & Zofío, José L., 2020. "The measurement of environmental economic inefficiency with pollution-generating technologies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    5. Behrouz Arabi & Susila Munisamy Doraisamy & Ali Emrouznejad & Alireza Khoshroo, 2017. "Eco-efficiency measurement and material balance principle: an application in power plants Malmquist Luenberger Index," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 255(1), pages 221-239, August.
    6. Emir Malikov & Raushan Bokusheva & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2018. "A hedonic-output-index-based approach to modeling polluting technologies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 287-308, February.
    7. Leleu, Hervé, 2013. "Shadow pricing of undesirable outputs in nonparametric analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(2), pages 474-480.
    8. Dakpo, Hervé K & Jeanneaux, Philippe & Latruffe, Laure, 2014. "Inclusion of undesirable outputs in production technology modeling: The case of greenhouse gas emissions in French meat sheep farming," Working Papers 207806, Institut National de la recherche Agronomique (INRA), Departement Sciences Sociales, Agriculture et Alimentation, Espace et Environnement (SAE2).
    9. Cherchye, Laurens & Rock, Bram De & Walheer, Barnabé, 2015. "Multi-output efficiency with good and bad outputs," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(3), pages 872-881.
    10. Lauwers, Ludwig, 2009. "Justifying the incorporation of the materials balance principle into frontier-based eco-efficiency models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1605-1614, April.
    11. Tamara Rudinskaya & Zdeňka Náglová, 2021. "Analysis of Consumption of Nitrogen Fertilisers and Environmental Efficiency in Crop Production of EU Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(16), pages 1-13, August.
    12. Benjamin Hampf, 2014. "Separating environmental efficiency into production and abatement efficiency: a nonparametric model with application to US power plants," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 457-473, June.
    13. Munksgaard, Jesper & Christoffersen, Line Block & Keiding, Hans & Pedersen, Ole Gravgard & Jensen, Trine S., 2007. "An environmental performance index for products reflecting damage costs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 119-130, October.
    14. Bokusheva, Raushan & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2014. "A Distance Function Model with Good and Bad Outputs," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182765, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    15. Kortelainen, Mika, 2008. "Estimation of semiparametric stochastic frontiers under shape constraints with application to pollution generating technologies," MPRA Paper 9257, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Ke Wang & Yi-Ming Wei & Zhimin Huang, 2017. "Environmental efficiency and abatement efficiency measurements of China¡¯s thermal power industry: A data envelopment analysis based materials balance approach," CEEP-BIT Working Papers 108, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEP), Beijing Institute of Technology.
    17. Zhang, Shanshan & Lundgren, Tommy & Zhou, Wenchao, 2016. "Energy efficiency in Swedish industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 42-51.
    18. Aldanondo, Ana M. & Casasnovas, Valero L. & Almansa, M. Carmen, 2016. "Cost-constrained measures of environmental efficiency: a material balance approach," MPRA Paper 72490, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Frederic Ang & Simon M. Mortimer & Francisco J. Areal & Richard Tiffin, 2018. "On the Opportunity Cost of Crop Diversification," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 794-814, September.
    20. Atkinson, Scott E. & Tsionas, Mike G., 2021. "Generalized estimation of productivity with multiple bad outputs: The importance of materials balance constraints," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 292(3), pages 1165-1186.

    More about this item


    Firm sustainability; Social performance; Environmental performance; Sales performance; Data envelopment analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:54:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1135-z. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.