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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND STOCK PRICES: A STUDY ON THE ITALIAN MARKET

Giovanni Fiori, Francesca di Donato, Maria Federica Izzo

DOI: 10.22495/cocv12i2c6p3

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of Corporate Social Performance on stock prices of Italian listed companies. The main stream of literature focuses on the relation between CSR and financial performance, showing contradictory results that still feed a debate, which has not yet reached a unanimous and widely shared position. Concerning the selection of the measure of performance, we chose stock prices as a proxy for financial performance, in order to measure the perception and reaction of financial markets to the companies’ socially responsible behaviors. Using different social performance indicators concerning environment, community and employment activities, we found evidence that a good social performance has a negative influence on stock prices in the Italian Stock Exchange Market. This phenomenon is particularly evident if the environmental strategies of the Italian listed companies are considered. Hence, the Italian investors perceive these practices as avoidable expenses reducing shareholders’ income and companies’ value and recognize a negative market premium, in terms of lower stock prices, to socially responsible enterprises. This evidence is consistent with the peculiarities of the Italian capitalism structure, which, because of its backwardness in CSR topics and related issues, seems to be not yet mature enough to evaluate appropriately the value of these policies.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Performance, Stock Price, Employees, Community, Environment

How to cite this paper: Fiori, G., di Donato, F., & Izzo, M. F. (2015). Corporate social responsibility and stock prices: A study on the Italian market. Corporate Ownership & Control, 12(2-6), 600-609. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv12i2c6p3

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