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Corporate social performance and over-investment : evidence from Germany


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Habermann, Florian:
Corporate social performance and over-investment : evidence from Germany.
In: Journal of global responsibility. 12 (2021) 3. - S. 347-363.
ISSN 2041-2568 ; 2041-2576



With the Green Deal and Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, the European Union is driving forward its ambition for a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. For this reason, this paper contributes to the ongoing discussion by examining how overall corporate social performance (CSP) and the respective environmental, social and governance (ESG) pillar performance affects corporate financial performance (CFP). In addition, this study aims to present novel insights by testing a theoretically derived CSP over-investment theory empirically for the German market.

The final sample includes firms listed on the German Prime Standard (DAX30, MDAX and TecDAX) from 2015 to 2019. The study includes a correlation and regression analysis using fixed effects on 363 firm-year observations to investigate the CSP-CFP relationship. This paper applies accounting and market-based CFP measures and uses Thomson Reuters (TR) ESG scores to measure CSP.

Overall CSP, social pillar and governance pillar performance improve CFP for firms listed on the German Prime Standard. However, the study provides evidence for a value-destroying effect of CSP over-investment in the social pillar.

Research limitations/implications
The implications of the study are ambiguous. First, firms can improve CFP when doing good, i.e. increase CSP. Second, however, CSP is a concept of decreasing marginal benefits. Consequently, managers can respond to increasing pressure from investors to be “sustainable” with the argument of CSP over-investment. Policymakers must consider materiality as a potential explanation for the over-investment phenomena when framing sustainable development programs, i.e. the EU Green Deal and regulations such as the Directive 2014/95/EU and the Regulation EU 2020/852. Moreover, the study sensitizes society that sustainability efforts do not exclusively affect CFP positively.

The paper contributes to CSP literature by revisiting the CSP-CFP relationship and debuting a CSP over-investment hypothesis on the German market. The results are highly relevant for practitioners, policymakers and society, as the study provides an empirical framework to evaluate CSP properly and reveals the importance of materiality in stakeholder management.

Weitere Angaben

Sprache des Eintrags:Englisch
Institutionen der Universität:Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät > Betriebswirtschaftslehre > ABWL, Controlling und Wirtschaftsprüfung
Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät > Betriebswirtschaftslehre > ABWL und Unternehmensrechnung
DOI / URN / ID:10.1108/JGR-11-2020-0095
Open Access: Freie Zugänglichkeit des Volltexts?:Nein
Die Zeitschrift ist nachgewiesen in:
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 10. Nov 2021 14:28
Letzte Änderung: 19. Nov 2021 08:41
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