The Economics of corporate social responsibility : the informational role of third parties

Abstract : This thesis studies the role of third parties in tempering informational issues at stake with regard to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Firms growingly claim to be adopting responsible practices, and it may be so because some socially conscious stakeholders (e.g. consumers, investors) are ready to reward such behaviors. Nevertheless, truthfulness of firms' virtue claims is often impossible or at least difficult to ascertain, which creates an incentive for firms to manipulate their communication. This dissertation intends to analyse how third parties can temper this asymmetry of information. Organisms such as rating agencies, non-governmental organisations, labeling institutions, can investigate firms' real actions and convey this information to stakeholders. These third parties have heterogeneous informational behaviors: some of them mostly disclose information on firms that do not behave responsibly while others are specialized in revealing firms that are socially or environmentally responsible. We develop a simple theoretical model that explores the provision of quality by a firm under friendly informational environments, in which quality is more often disclosed when it is high than when it is low, and hostile environments, in which the converse holds. We apply this base model to two types of third party: NGOs and labels. We endogenize the production of good and bad news in order to understand when and why NGOs choose between being hostile or friendly. Then, we seek to assess what is the more efficient level of label's strictness to spur social welfare and investment in high quality.
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Gabrielle Moineville. The Economics of corporate social responsibility : the informational role of third parties. Economics and Finance. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012ENMP0083⟩. ⟨pastel-00820117⟩

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