Economics at your fingertips  

Corporate apology for environmental damage

Ben Gilbert (), Alexander James and Jason Shogren ()

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2018, vol. 56, issue 1, No 3, 81 pages

Abstract: Abstract Apologies are a powerful way to restore trust and reduce punishment costs in bilateral settings. But what do we know about public apologies for large scale man-made disasters? Herein we report on results from an experiment with apologies in a multilateral setting: a firm-caused environmental disaster. Subjects read about an oil spill scenario, and learned whether the oil firm made a full apology, a partial apology, or no apology, and whether the firm had a good, bad, or no environmental reputation. A partial apology is one that fails to accept full material responsibility for damages, such as by shifting the blame to another party. We find that full apologies and better reputation reduce the demand for punishment. However, full apologies and reputation are substitutes, with reputation being significantly more important. Additionally, apologies do not reduce the demand for compensation and may increase it if the firm is clearly a bad actor, or if admission of guilt is the only information subjects have. Our results help explain corporate social responsibility investments and greenwashing, and why many public apologies over an environmental disaster are only partial apologies.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; Greenwashing; Apologies; Environmental disaster; Cheap talk; Q54; L14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
Working Paper: Corporate Apology for Environmental Damage (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... ry/journal/11166/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s11166-018-9276-4

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty is currently edited by W. Kip Viscusi

More articles in Journal of Risk and Uncertainty from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2021-03-28
Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:56:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11166-018-9276-4