Barnea and Rubin (2010)

Barnea, Amir, and Amir Rubin.  “Corporate Social Responsibility as a Conflict Between Shareholders.”  Journal of Business Ethics, 2010.

From the authors' abstract:  "[W]e argue that a firm’s insiders (managers and large blockholders) may seek to over- invest in CSR for their private benefit to the extent that doing so improves their reputations as good global citizens and has a ‘‘warm-glow’’ effect... Employing a unique data set that categorizes the largest 3000 U.S. corporations as either socially responsible (SR) or socially irresponsible (SI), we find that on average, insiders’ ownership and leverage are negatively related to the firm’s social rating, while institutional ownership is uncorrelated with it. Assuming that higher CSR ratings is associated with higher CSR expenditure level, these results support our hypothesis that insiders induce firms to over-invest in CSR when they bear little of the cost of doing so."

Link (published version):