NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Fatemeh Momeni

Department of Economics
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: The University of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017When Corporate Social Responsibility Backfires: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment
with John A. List: w24169
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a cornerstone of modern business practice, developing from a “why” in the 1960s to a “must” today. Early empirical evidence on both the demand and supply sides has largely confirmed CSR's efficacy. This paper combines theory with a large-scale natural field experiment to connect CSR to an important but often neglected behavior: employee misconduct and shirking. Through employing more than 3000 workers, we find that our usage of CSR increases employee misbehavior - 20% more employees act detrimentally toward our firm by shirking on their primary job duty when we introduce CSR. Complementary treatments suggest that “moral licensing” is at work, in that the “doing good” nature of CSR induces workers to misbehave on another dimension that hurts ...
 
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