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The role of public information in corporate social responsibility

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Abstract

Many of the attributes that make a good 'socially responsible' are credence attributes that cannot be learned by consumers either through search or experience. Consumers, then, use for their purchasing decisions 'noisy' information about these attributes obtained from potentially contradictory channels (media, advertisement, NGOs). In this paper we model such informational framework and show the positive relationship between the accuracy of the information transmitted to consumers and corporate social responsibility (CSR). We also show that a firm may be tempted to add noise to the information channel (through lobbying of the media), which might reduce the supply of the CSR attributes and even harm the firm itself (with lower profits). It might then be profitable to the firm to commit ex-ante to not manipulate the information regarding the firm's business practices (e.g., with a partnership with an NGO). Finally, we extend our model to a competition framework endogenizing the number of firms active in the CSR segment. We show both that in more transparent markets a larger number of firms will be CSR, and that in a market with more intense competition, a higher degree of transparency is required in order to sustain a given number of CSR firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Aleix Calveras & Juan José Ganuza, 2015. "The role of public information in corporate social responsibility," Economics Working Papers 1491, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1491
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    1. Aleix Calveras & Juan-José Ganuza, 2016. "The Role of Public Information in Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 990-1017, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Constantine Manasakis & Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2013. "Certification of corporate social responsibility activities in oligopolistic markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 282-309, February.
    2. repec:bla:jemstr:v:25:y:2016:i:4:p:990-1017 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Aleix Calveras & Juan-José Ganuza, 2016. "The Role of Public Information in Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 990-1017, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    credence good; information asymmetry; corporate social responsibility; regulation; NGO; competition.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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