Leadership Investigate

Corporate Social Responsibility Through An Economic Lens

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Executive Summary

Business leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should the authors think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities? They address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.

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