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Corporate social responsibility and corporate performance: evidence from a panel of US listed companies


  • Leonardo Becchetti
  • Stefania Di Giacomo
  • Damiano Pinnacchio


We investigate whether inclusion and permanence in the domini social index (DSI) affects corporate performance on a sample of around 1000 firms in a 13-year interval by controlling for size, industry, business cycle and time invariant firm idiosyncratic characteristics. Our results find partial support to the hypothesis that corporate social responsibility is a move from the shareholders wealth to a multi-stakeholders welfare target. On the one side, permanence into the domini index (DI) is shown to increase (reduce) significantly total sales per employee (returns on equity but not when large and R&D investing firms are excluded from the sample). On the other side, lower returns on equity for Domini firms seem nonetheless to be accompanied by relatively lower conditional volatility and lower reaction to extreme shocks with respect to the control sample. An explanation for these findings, suggested by the inspection of Domini criteria, is that social responsibility implies, on the one side, decisions leading to higher cost of labour and of intermediate output, but may, on the other side, enhance involvement, motivation and identification of the workforce with company goals with positive effects on productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Becchetti & Stefania Di Giacomo & Damiano Pinnacchio, 2008. "Corporate social responsibility and corporate performance: evidence from a panel of US listed companies," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 541-567.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:40:y:2008:i:5:p:541-567
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500428112

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    Cited by:

    1. Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Schmidt, Peter & Wagner, Marcus & Ziegler, Andreas, 2013. "Does the stock market value the inclusion in a sustainability stock index? An event study analysis for German firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 497-509.
    2. Leonardo Becchetti & Nazaria Solferino & Maria Elisabetta Tessitore, 2016. "Corporate social responsibility and profit volatility: theory and empirical evidence," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 49-89.
    3. Fatemi, Ali & Fooladi, Iraj & Tehranian, Hassan, 2015. "Valuation effects of corporate social responsibility," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 182-192.
    4. Becchetti, Leonardo & Ciciretti, Rocco & Giovannelli, Alessandro, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and earnings forecasting unbiasedness," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3654-3668.
    5. R. Giuliano & B. Mahy & F. Rycx & G. Vermeylen, 2017. "Does corporate social responsibility make over-educated workers more productive?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(6), pages 587-605, February.
    6. Henriques, Irene & Sadorsky, Perry, 2010. "Can environmental sustainability be used to manage energy price risk?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1131-1138, September.
    7. Leonardo Becchetti & Nazaria Solferino & M. Tessitore, 2015. "How to safeguard world heritage sites? A theoretical model of “cultural responsibility”," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 62(3), pages 223-248, September.
    8. Andreas Ziegler, 2012. "Is it Beneficial to be Included in a Sustainability Stock Index? A Panel Data Study for European Firms," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 301-325, July.
    9. Natalia Kelchevskaya & Ilia Chernenko & Ekaterina Popova, 2017. "The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on the Investment Attractiveness of the Russian Companies," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(1), pages 157-169.

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