On the foundations of corporate social responsibility

Hao Liang, Luc Renneboog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-910
JournalThe Journal of Finance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • legal origins
  • stakeholder orientation
  • firm value


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