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The CSR-Firm Performance Missing Link: Complementarity Between Environmental, Social and Business Behavior Criteria?


  • Sandra Cavaco

    (LEM - Laboratoire d'Économie Moderne - UP2 - Université Panthéon-Assas - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche)

  • Patricia Crifo

    (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - Polytechnique - X - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UPN - Université Paris Nanterre, CIRANO - Montréal)


This article analyses the complementarity between various dimensions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and financial performance. We hypothesise that the absence of consensus in the empirical literature on the CSR-financial performance relationship may be explained by the existence of synergies (complementarity) and trade-offs (substitutability) between the different CSR components. We investigate such relationships using a sample of 595 firms from 15 European countries over the 2002-2007 period. The results suggest some kind of trade-offs between CSR components. Some CSR combinations appear as relative complements, human resources and business behaviour towards customers and suppliers, suggesting mutual benefits and less conflicts between those stakeholders. Conversely, environment and business behaviour towards customers and suppliers appear as relative substitutes, suggesting more conflict or over investment between such types of stakeholders.

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  • Sandra Cavaco & Patricia Crifo, 2013. "The CSR-Firm Performance Missing Link: Complementarity Between Environmental, Social and Business Behavior Criteria?," Working Papers hal-00504747, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00504747
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel Fernández-Kranz & Juan Santaló, 2010. "When Necessity Becomes a Virtue: The Effect of Product Market Competition on Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 453-487, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget, 2013. "La responsabilité sociale et environnementale des entreprises : mirage ou virage ?," Working Papers hal-00830642, HAL.
    2. Crifo, Patricia & Diaye, Marc-Arthur & Pekovic, Sanja, 2016. "CSR related management practices and firm performance: An empirical analysis of the quantity–quality trade-off on French data," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(P3), pages 405-416.
    3. Patricia Crifo & Vanina D. Forget, 2015. "The Economics Of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Firm-Level Perspective Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 112-130, February.
    4. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget, 2013. "Think Global, Invest Responsible: Why the Private Equity Industry Goes Green," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 21-48, August.
    5. Ana S. Branca & Joaquim P. Pina & Margarida Catalão-Lopes, 2012. "Corporate Giving, Competition and the Economic Cycle," Working Papers Department of Economics 2012/15, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    6. Etilé, Fabrice & Teyssier, Sabrina, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and the economics of consumer social responsibility," Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, Editions NecPlus, vol. 94(02), pages 221-259, June.
    7. Vanina Forget, 2012. "Doing well and doing good: a multi-dimensional puzzle," Working Papers hal-00672037, HAL.

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    panel data; Corporate social responsibility; financial performance; complementarity; supermodularity; panel data.;

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