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Adoption of CSR and Sustainability Reporting Standards: Economic Analysis and Review

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  • Hans B. Christensen
  • Luzi Hail
  • Christian Leuz

Abstract

This study provides an economic analysis of the determinants and consequences of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability reporting. To frame our analysis, we consider a widespread mandatory adoption of CSR reporting standards in the United States. The study focuses on the economic effects of standards for disclosure and reporting, not on the effects of CSR activities and policies themselves. It draws on an extensive review of the relevant academic (CSR and non-CSR) literatures in accounting, economics, finance, and management. Based on a discussion of the fundamental economic forces at play and the key features and determinants of (voluntary) CSR reporting, we derive and evaluate possible economic consequences, including capital-market effects for select stakeholders as well as potential firm responses and real effects in firm behavior. We also highlight issues related to the implementation and enforcement of CSR reporting standards. Our analysis yields a number of insights that are relevant to the current debate on CSR and sustainability reporting and provides scholars with avenues for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans B. Christensen & Luzi Hail & Christian Leuz, 2019. "Adoption of CSR and Sustainability Reporting Standards: Economic Analysis and Review," NBER Working Papers 26169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26169
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    1. Mariana Dubravská & Martina Marchevská & Petra Vašaničová & Rastislav Kotulič, 2020. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Linkage: An Empirical Analysis of the Slovak Republic," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-17, July.

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    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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