Corporate leaders generally understand that corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities can improve their company’s public image. But do those activities make sense from a financial perspective?

Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Sean Blair, a doctoral candidate in marketing at Kellogg, set out to answer that question. “The first impact [of CSR] is on a company’s reputation and brand,” says Chernev....

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