Professors on the Board: Do They Contribute to Society Outside the Classroom?
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According to our data, 38.5 % of S&P 1500 firms have at least one professor on their boards. Given the lack of research examining the roles and effects of academic faculty as members of boards of directors (professor–directors) on corporate outcomes, this study investigates whether firms with professor–directors are more likely to exhibit higher corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance ratings. Results indicate that firms with professor–directors do exhibit higher CSR performance ratings than those without. However, the influence of professor–directors on firm CSR performance ratings depends on their academic background—the positive association between the presence of professor–directors and firm CSR performance ratings is significant only when their academic background is specialized (e.g., science, engineering, and medicine). Finally, this positive association weakens when professor–directors hold an administrative position at their universities.
KeywordsAcademic Board of directors Corporate governance Corporate social responsibility Professor Social performance ratings
We are indebted to Editor-in-Chief Alex Michalos for his support. We are also grateful for comments and suggestions provided by four anonymous reviewers, Den Patten, and participants of the International Conference for Green Finance, the 35 ème Congrès de l’Association Francophone de Comptabilité (AFC) in Lille (special thanks to discussant Tiphaine Compernolle), the 38th European Accounting Association (EAA) Annual Congress in Glasgow, and research seminars at Yonsei University, KAIST-Korea University (Joint Accounting Research Workshop), the University of Central Florida - Dixon School of Accounting, and IESEG. Byungjin Kwak and Choong-Yuel Yoo acknowledge financial support received from 2011 to 2013 KAIST Internal Research Grant.
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