Stock Performance of Socially Responsible Companies

Open access

Abstract

Every year Corporate Responsibility Magazine selects and ranks 100 companies on the basis of their corporate social responsibility. This study investigates the stock performance of socially responsible companies in the U.S. The monthly stock returns for these companies are analyzed and compared with the market performance, with the S&P 500 index designated as a proxy for the market. The empirical evidence suggests that these 100 companies outperform the market in their monthly stock returns. We also narrow down the number of companies selected to the top 75, 50, 25, and 10 firms. As we narrow down the companies selected, the difference between their returns and the market returns also narrows. In other words, a portfolio that includes all top 100 companies provides the best stock performance. We extend the analysis to long-term annual stock performance. We find that these socially responsible companies′ annual returns are higher than the market returns for up to seven years after they are listed. We also conduct the same analysis on the top 75, 50, 25, and 10 firms, respectively. Similarly, the larger the number of these top 100 companies, the greater the tendency to generate higher annual returns. We suspect that because the difference between the socially responsible companies′ average returns and the market returns is not dramatic, with a bigger population and thus a larger sample size, the difference becomes more significant. However, in practice, transaction costs must be considered. This study is limited in that it does not consider transaction costs. Nevertheless, we hope to shed some light on the issue of socially responsible companies′ stock performance to encourage companies to start thinking about the importance of corporate social responsibility.

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