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Corporate environmental claims: a game theory model with empirical results

Louis H. Amato (Belk College of Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA)
Arthur Zillante (Belk College of Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA)
Christie H Amato (Belk College of Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examines whether firms’ eco-friendly advertising claims are supported by environmentally friendly behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a game theory model to determine the circumstances under which firms’ environmental claims will be supported by the adoption of best environmental practice. Least squares regression is used to test major theoretical implications.

Findings

The theoretical model suggests that the credence good nature of un-monitored environmental claims prohibits consumer validation; firms have an incentive to advertise green but no incentive to adopt best environmental practice. Third-party monitoring transforms the game, making eco-friendly outcomes possible. Empirical models based on North American data suggest that firm profit rates are related to verifiable environmental claims and to easily accessible external ratings of environmental performance.

Originality/value

Unlike previous game theoretical models for similar goods, the eco-friendly outcome does not require a repeated game. The importance of the single period game is that continued patronage is not required for the firm to produce goods containing the desired attributes.

Keywords

Citation

Amato, L.H., Zillante, A. and Amato, C.H. (2015), "Corporate environmental claims: a game theory model with empirical results", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 36-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-05-2013-0058

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited