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Investment Horizon and Corporate Social Performance: The Virtuous Circle of Long-Term Institutional Ownership and Responsible Firm Conduct

We investigate the relationship between corporate social performance and institutional ownership. We distinguish between long-term and short-term institutional investors using holdings-based measures which directly capture the investment horizon of each institution. Our analysis shows that long term institutional investment is positively related to corporate social performance (mainly by an avoidance of investing in firms with significant controversies) whereas short-term institutional investment is negatively related to corporate social performance. Further investigation reveals that increased holdings of a firm by long-term investors are positively associated with its future corporate social performance. Hence, we provide evidence of a ‘virtuous circle’ between long term investment and social responsibility.

Keywords
corporate social responsibility; CSR; CSP; sustainability; institutional investors; investment horizon

JEL Classification
G23, G31, M14

Published on 16th October 2017
Authors Dr Ioannis Oikonomou
Series Reference ICM-2017-06