NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Competition Laws, Norms and Corporate Social Responsibility

Wenzhi Ding, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie

NBER Working Paper No. 27493
Issued in July 2020
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance, Environment and Energy Economics, Industrial Organization

Theory offers differing perspectives and predictions about the impact of product market competition on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Using firm-level data on CSR from 2002 through 2015 and panel data on competition laws in 48 countries, we discover that intensifying competition induces firms to increase CSR activities. Analyses indicate that (a) intensifying competition spurs firms to invest more in CSR as a strategy for strengthening relationships with workers, suppliers, and customers and (b) the competition-CSR effect is stronger in economies where social norms prioritize CSR-type activities, e.g., treating others fairly, satisfying implicit agreements, protecting the environment, etc.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27493

 
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