Do Managers Do Good with Other People's Money?
NBER Working Paper No. 19432
We find support for two key predictions of an agency theory of unproductive corporate social responsibility. First, increasing managerial ownership decreases measures of firm goodness. We use the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut to increase after-tax insider ownership. Firms with moderate levels of insider ownership cut goodness by more than firms with low levels (where the tax cut has no effect) and high levels (where agency is less of an issue). Second, increasing monitoring reduces corporate goodness. A regression discontinuity design of close votes around the 50% cut-off finds that passage of shareholder governance proposals leads to slower growth in goodness.
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An online appendix is available for this publication.