, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 189-206
Date: 14 Feb 2007

What Corporate Social Responsibility Activities are Valued by the Market?

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Abstract

Corporate management is torn between either focusing solely on the interests of stockholders (the neo-classical view) or taking into account the interests of a wide spectrum of stakeholders (the stakeholder theory view). Of course, there need be no conflict where taking the wider view is also consistent with maximising stockholder wealth. In this paper, we examine the extent to which a conflict actually exists by examining the relationship between a company’s positive (strengths) and negative (concerns) corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and equity performance. In general, we find little evidence to suggest that managers taking a wider stakeholder perspective will jeopardise the interest of its stockholders. However, our findings do suggest that the market is not only influenced by the independent CSR activities, but also the totality of these activities and that the facets that they value do vary over time. It seems that␣most recently, the market has valued most firms that satisfied minimum requirements in the areas of diversity and environmental protection but were most proactive in the area of employee-relations.

Ron Bird is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Finance and Economics at the University of Technology, Sydney. His research interests focus on market implications of corporate social responsibility and also dysfunctionality within capital markets. He received his Master's degree in economics at Monash University in 1971. Anthony D. Hall is currently the Head of the School of Finance and Economics and Director of the Quantitative FinanceResearch Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney. His research interests cover all aspects of financial econometrics. He was awarded a PhD in econometrics from the London School of Economics in `976.Francesco Momente is Professor of Corporate Finance at the Bocconi University, Milan (Italy). His research intersts focus on the market valuation of corporate social responsibility and the value relevance of accounting information.He received his PhD in General Management at Ca' Foscari University, Venice (Italy) in 1998. Francesco Reggiani is Professor of Corporate Finance at the Bocconi University, Milan (Italy). His research interests focuson the market valuation of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. He received his PhD in GeneralManagement at Bocconi University in 2001.