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Location, Clusters, and CSR Engagement: The Role of Information Asymmetry and Knowledge Spillovers

For a large sample of US firms over the period 1998-2009, we investigate the impact of their location on CSR engagement. We find strong and robust evidence that firms located in remote areas exhibit low CSR engagement compared to firms located close to financial centers. In addition, firms characterized by high levels of local CSR density score higher in CSR engagement. Moreover, we report that firms located close to financial centers that engage in high levels of CSR activities are rewarded in terms of cheaper equity financing costs. Our findings suggest that geography (location/proximity to financial centers and local CSR density) has important implications for social performance and ensuing equity financing costs.

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