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Do Managers Do Good with Other People's Money?


  • Ing-Haw Cheng
  • Harrison Hong
  • Kelly Shue


We find support for two key predictions of an agency theory of unproductive corporate social responsibility. First, increasing managerial ownership decreases measures of firm goodness. We use the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut to increase after-tax insider ownership. Firms with moderate levels of insider ownership cut goodness by more than firms with low levels (where the tax cut has no effect) and high levels (where agency is less of an issue). Second, increasing monitoring reduces corporate goodness. A regression discontinuity design of close votes around the 50% cut-off finds that passage of shareholder governance proposals leads to slower growth in goodness.

Suggested Citation

  • Ing-Haw Cheng & Harrison Hong & Kelly Shue, 2013. "Do Managers Do Good with Other People's Money?," NBER Working Papers 19432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19432
    Note: CF

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
    2. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    3. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 791-833.
    4. James Poterba, 2004. "Taxation and Corporate Payout Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 171-175, May.
    5. Vicente Cuñat & Mireia Gine & Maria Guadalupe, 2012. "The Vote Is Cast: The Effect of Corporate Governance on Shareholder Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(5), pages 1943-1977, October.
    6. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    7. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
    8. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2006. "Dividend Taxes and Firm Valuation: New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 119-123, May.
    9. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Daniel W. Elfenbein & Ray Fisman & Brian Mcmanus, 2012. "Charity as a Substitute for Reputation: Evidence from an Online Marketplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1441-1468.
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    Cited by:

    1. Borgers, A.C.T., 2014. "Responsible investing : New insights into performance and tastes," Other publications TiSEM 587e777f-c242-4a44-968e-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Albuquerque, Rui & Durnev, Artyom & Koskinen, Yrjö, 2013. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Risk: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2012. "Financial Constraints on Corporate Goodness," NBER Working Papers 18476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Harrison Hong & Inessa Liskovich, 2015. "Crime, Punishment and the Halo Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility," NBER Working Papers 21215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Krüger, Philipp, 2015. "Corporate goodness and shareholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 304-329.
    6. Bhandari, Avishek & Javakhadze, David, 2017. "Corporate social responsibility and capital allocation efficiency," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 354-377.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G39 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Other

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