Comment on Portney

Does Corporate Social Responsibility Have to Be Unprofitable?

Dennis J. Aigner

Paul Portney has written a thoughtful and provocative chapter on the economic rationale and implications of corporate social responsibility (CSR). I found it to be extremely helpful in organizing thinking about the growing phenomenon of firms going “beyond compliance” with regard to their activities relating to environmental performance, worker health and safety, and investing in local communities.

To set the stage, Portney’s working definition of CSR is “a consistent pattern, at the very least, of private firms doing more than they are required to do under applicable laws and regulations governing the environment, worker safety and health, and ...

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