Corporate Governance and the Rise of Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility Criteria in Executive Compensation: Antecedents and Outcomes

Caroline Flammer (Boston University)
Bryan Hong (Western University)
Dylan Minor (Northwestern University)

Abstract: This study examines the antecedents and consequences of integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria in executive compensation, a relatively recent practice in corporate governance. Using a novel database of CSR contracting, we find that CSR contracting is more prevalent in emission-intensive industries and has become more prevalent over time. We further find that the adoption of CSR contracting leads to i) a reduction in short-termism; ii) an increase in firm value; iii) an increase in social and environmental performance; iv) a reduction in emissions; and v) an increase in green innovations. These findings are consistent with our theoretical arguments highlighting a new form of agency conflict--the misalignment between shareholders' and managers' preferences for stakeholder engagement--and suggest that CSR contracting can enhance corporate governance.

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