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Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective

  • Thomas P. Lyon

    (Ross School of Business, University of Michigan)

  • John W. Maxwell

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

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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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2007-16.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2007-16
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  1. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  2. Mark Bagnoli & Susan G. Watts, 2003. "Selling to Socially Responsible Consumers: Competition and The Private Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 419-445, 09.
  3. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Nyborg, Karine, 2005. "Moral hazard and moral motivation: Corporate social responsibility as labor market screening," Memorandum 25/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. David P. Baron, 2001. "Private Politics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Integrated Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 7-45, 03.
  5. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2004. "Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy," Working Papers 2004-18, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  6. Heinkel, Robert & Kraus, Alan & Zechner, Josef, 2001. "The Effect of Green Investment on Corporate Behavior," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(04), pages 431-449, December.
  7. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2003. "A bargaining model of voluntary environmental agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2725-2736, December.
  8. Zhihao Yu, 2005. "Environmental Protection: A Theory of Direct and Indirect Competition for Political Influence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 269-286.
  9. Matthieu Glachant, 2007. "Non-Binding Voluntary Agreements," Post-Print hal-00437769, HAL.
  10. Na Li Dawson & Kathleen Segerson, 2008. "Voluntary Agreements with Industries: Participation Incentives with Industry-Wide Targets," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(1), pages 97-114.
  11. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2007. "Strategic Activism and Nonmarket Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 599-634, 09.
  12. Graff Zivin Joshua & Small Arthur, 2005. "A Modigliani-Miller Theory of Altruistic Corporate Social Responsibility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-21, May.
  13. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  14. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:98:y:1983:i:3:p:371-400 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
  16. David P. Baron, 2007. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 683-717, 09.
  17. Anthony Heyes and John Maxwell, 2003. "Private vs. Public Regulation: Political Economy of the International Environment," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 03/5, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Dec 2003.
  18. John Maxwell & Christopher Decker, 2006. "Voluntary Environmental Investment and Responsive Regulation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(4), pages 425-439, 04.
  19. Pargal, Sheoli & Wheeler, David, 1996. "Informal Regulation of Industrial Pollution in Developing Countries: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1314-27, December.
  20. Innes, Robert & Bial, Joseph J, 2002. "Inducing Innovation in the Environmental Technology of Oligopolistic Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 265-87, September.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:1:p:1-31 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  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.
  29. Robert Innes, 2006. "A Theory of Consumer Boycotts under Symmetric Information and Imperfect Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 355-381, 04.
  30. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
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