Using corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings for 23,000 companies from 114 countries, we find that a firm's CSR rating and its country's legal origin are strongly correlated. Legal origin is a stronger explanation than “doing good by doing well” factors or firm and country characteristics (ownership concentration, political institutions, and globalization): firms from common law countries have lower CSR than companies from civil law countries, with Scandinavian civil law firms having the highest CSR ratings. Evidence from quasi-natural experiments such as scandals and natural disasters suggests that civil law firms are more responsive to CSR shocks than common law firms.
- Corporate social responsibility
- legal origins
- stakeholder orientation
- firm value