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Social Capital, Trust, and Firm Performance during the Financial Crisis

Author

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  • Lins, Karl
  • Servaes, Henri
  • Tamayo, Ane

Abstract

We study the extent to which a firm’s social capital, as measured by the intensity of a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, affects firm performance during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. We find that high-CSR firms have crisis-period stock returns that are four to five percentage points higher than low-CSR firms, all else equal. In contrast, we find no difference in returns between high- and low-CSR firms either before or after the crisis. During the crisis, high-CSR firms also experience higher profitability, sales growth, and sales per employee and a decline in their accounts receivable relative to low-CSR firms. This evidence is consistent with the view that the trust between the firm and its stakeholders and investors, built through investments in social capital, pays off when the overall level of trust in corporations and markets suffers a negative shock.

Suggested Citation

  • Lins, Karl & Servaes, Henri & Tamayo, Ane, 2015. "Social Capital, Trust, and Firm Performance during the Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 10399, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10399
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ariel H. Fambeu, 2019. "Peer Effect and Environmental Responsibility of Enterprises in a Sub-Saharan African Country," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 1084-1094.
    2. Henke, Hans-Martin, 2016. "The effect of social screening on bond mutual fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 69-84.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate social responsibility; financial crisis; social capital; trust;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

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