This paper aims to close gaps in the current literature according to whether there are differences regarding the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and systematic risk when diverse regions of the world are considered, and what the respective drivers for this relationship are. Furthermore, it tests the robustness to alternative measures for CSP and systematic risk.
This study focuses on the impact of corporate social responsibility on systematic firm risk in an international sample. The authors measure CSP emerging from a company's social responsibility efforts by utilizing a CSP rating framework that covers a variety of dimensions. The instrumental variable approach is applied to mitigate endogeneity and identify causal relationships.
The impact of overall CSP on systematic risk is most distinct for North American firms and, in descending order, weaker in Europe, Asia–Pacific and Japan. Risk mitigation applies across all four regions. However, the magnitude of impact differs. While the most critical drivers in North America and Japan include product responsibility, Europe is affected most by the employees category and Asia–Pacific by environmental innovation.
The findings help firms to control their cost of equity and investors may identify low-risk stocks by considering certain aspects of CSP.
This study distinguishes itself from previous literature addressing the connection between systematic risk and CSP by focusing on regional differences in an international sample, using the very transparent CSP measures of Asset4, identifying underlying impact drivers, and testing for robustness to alternative measures of systematic risk.
Dorfleitner, G. and Grebler, J. (2022), "Corporate social responsibility and systematic risk: international evidence", Journal of Risk Finance, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 85-120. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRF-07-2020-0162
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