We investigate the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of firms with a dual-class share structure. Dual-class firms, which represent a fast-growing segment of the U.S. capital market, violate the "one share, one vote" principle by giving corporate insiders control in excess of their economic interest in the firm. We observe a negative association of excess insider control and firms’ CSR performance, primarily with respect to the community- and employee-related dimensions of CSR. Extended analyses reveal that this negative association is mitigated by high financial resource availability. Consistent with a trade-off between corporate spending on CSR or on benefits for insiders, we also observe a negative association between CSR performance and executive pay in dual-class firms. Taken together, these extended analyses are consistent with self-interested behavior of entrenched insiders who, unless resources are abundant, appear to reduce CSR activities to maintain resources available for their personal benefit. While the exposure to risks engendered by a dual-class equity structure may be reflected in the share price, our findings draw attention to an externality: diminished CSR performance affects not just shareholders, but all stakeholders.
Hettler, B., Forst, A., Cordeiro, J. and Chavez, S., 2021. Excess insider control and corporate social responsibility: Evidence from dual-class firms. Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 40(6), p.106877. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaccpubpol.2021.106877
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Journal of Accounting and Public Policy