Harjoto and Jo (2011)

Harjoto, Maretno and Hoje Jo.  “Corporate Governance and CSR Nexus.”  Journal of Business Ethics, April 2011.

From the authors' abstract:  "We find that firms use governance mechanisms, along with CSR engagement, to reduce conflicts of interest between managers and non-investing stakeholders. Employing a large and extensive sample of firms within Russell 2000, S&500 and Domini 400 indices during the 1993–2004 period, we find that consistent with the conflict-resolution hypothesis, the CSR choice is positively associated with governance characteristics, including board independence, institutional ownership, and analyst following. In addition, after correcting for endogeneity of CSR engagement, our results show that CSR engagement positively influences operating performance and firm value, supporting the conflict-resolution hypothesis as opposed to the over-investment and strategic-choice arguments. We find only a weak support of the product-signaling hypothesis as a major motive of CSR engagement."

Link:  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10551-011-0772-6