"Positive and Negative Corporate Social Responsibility, Financial Leverage, and Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Business Ethics


Authors: Mishra, Saurabh; Modi, Sachin B.

Publication: Journal of Business Ethics, October 2013


Existing research on the financial implications of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for firms has predominantly focused on positive aspects of CSR, overlooking that firms also undertake actions and initiatives that qualify as negative CSR. Moreover, studies in this area have not investigated how both positive and negative CSR affect the financial risk of firms. As such, in this research, the authors provide a framework linking both positive and negative CSR to idiosyncratic risk of firms. While investigating these relationships, the authors also analyze the moderating role of financial leverage of firms. Overall, analysis of secondary information for firms from multiple industries over the years 2000-2009 shows that CSR has a significant effect on the idiosyncratic risk of firms, with positive CSR reducing risk and negative CSR increasing it. Results also show that the reduction in risk from positive CSR is not guaranteed, with firms having high levels of financial leverage witnessing lower idiosyncratic risk reduction.