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Family ownership and stockholder reactions to environmental performance disclosure: A test of secondary agency relationships

James J. Cordeiro, Giorgia Profumo and Ilaria Tutore

Business Strategy and the Environment, 2021, vol. 30, issue 4, 2091-2107

Abstract: Using the first ever Newsweek “Green Rankings” of the 500 largest U. S. firms in 2009 as a significant historical event, we test for the stockholder reaction to ratings of corporate environmental performance. Both the conventional null hypothesis significance testing and Bayesian approaches show that stockholders react significantly more positively to corporations with higher ratings of corporate environmental performance and that this effect is stronger in family owned firms. Our findings suggest that majority shareholders do not necessarily appropriate minority stockholders' rents when investing in environmental activities, as would be the case in the presence of “Type II” agency conflicts between majority family owners and minority stockholders. The family ownership effect is also found to be stronger in dirty (heavy polluting) industries as well as in more competitive and more opaque industry contexts.

Date: 2021
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