Leaders with Daughters Care More About CSR

According to a new study of nearly 400 of the largest U.S. firms, those led by CEOs with daughters allocate 13.4 percent more of their net profits to corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts than those with CEOs who do not have daughters.

According to a new study of nearly 400 of the largest U.S. firms, those led by CEOs with daughters allocate 13.4 percent more of their net profits—or about US$60 million—to corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts than those with CEOs who do not have daughters. This outcome held true regardless of whether the CEOs were male or female, according to Henrik Cronqvist of the University of Miami School of Business Administration in Florida and Frank Yu of China European International Business School in Shanghai.

The co-authors note that previous research has shown that firms with female CEOs often implement more CSR initiatives than those with male CEOs. In this study, Cronqvist and Yu found that male CEOs with daughters were 31.8 percent more likely to make CSR decisions similar to those made by female CEOs. Conversely, firms whose leadership transitioned from CEOs with daughters to those without experienced an average 9.4 percent decrease in CSR initiatives. Cronqvist and Yu also found that CEOs with daughters were nicer to their employees and more likely to offer diversity-supporting benefits such as childcare, flextime, and profit sharing.

“Parents shape their children by instilling certain values in them, but we find the opposite is in fact at least as important: Children shape their parents’ beliefs and preferences, and this has real implications for decision-making,” the co-authors write. “A male CEO with a daughter may acquire an identity...more aligned with female values.”

The working paper “Shaped by Their Daughters: Executives, Female Socialization, and Corporate Social Responsibility” is available at ssrn.com/abstract=2618358.