Manuscript Type. Empirical.

Research Question/Issue. This study examines the relationship between blockholder and bank ownership and a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. We analyze a multinational panel data sample for the period 2003–2012.

Research Findings/Insights. We find that the degree of blockholder ownership is negatively related to CSR performance, whereas the degree of bank ownership is positively related to CSR performance. The negative (positive) relationship between blockholder (bank) ownership and CSR performance is more pronounced in firms with high ownership dispersion.

Theoretical/Academic Implications. Our study contributes to existing literature by investigating the effects of blockholder and bank ownership on CSR performance within an international context. Prior research has predominantly examined local markets. Additionally, we identify ownership dispersion to strengthen the relationship between investors and CSR and thus provide further evidence on the factors influencing investors’ CSR preferences. Conducting an instrumental variables approach supports our findings that bank ownership is positively, and blockholder ownership is negatively, related to CSR performance.

Practitioner/Policy Implications. Our results may assist firms in understanding the demand for CSR by blockholders and bank owners. An awareness of this demand may help firms to optimize their CSR performance in line with their investors’ preferences. The knowledge produced in this article could assist firms in adopting the optimal level of CSR performance. Viewed from another perspective, knowing that either blockholder or bank ownership is present allows other shareholders, for instance sustainability funds, to anticipate the longrun equilibrium level of firmspecific CSR performance.

By:  Kerstin Lopatta, University of Oldenburg, Reemda Jaeschke, University of Oldenburg – Accounting and Corporate Governance, Felix Canitz, University of Oldenburg, and Thomas Kaspereit, Universite du Luxembourg

Read the full article in Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2017, 25(1): 41–57