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Keywords:

  • corporate social responsibility;
  • CSP;
  • socially responsible investing;
  • credit ratings;
  • cost of debt;
  • credit spreads;
  • corporate bonds;
  • C33;
  • G32;
  • M14

Abstract

This study investigates the differential impact that various dimensions of corporate social performance have on the pricing of corporate debt as well as the assessment of the credit quality of specific bond issues. The empirical analysis, based on an extensive longitudinal data set, suggests that overall, good performance is rewarded and corporate social transgressions are penalized through lower and higher corporate bond yield spreads, respectively. Similar conclusions can be drawn when focusing on either the bond rating assigned to a specific debt issue or the probability of it being considered to be an asset of speculative grade.