NBER

Wenzhi Ding

K.K. Leung Building
University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR

E-Mail: wenzhi.ding@connect.hku.hk
Institutional Affiliation: University of Hong Kong

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Competition Laws, Norms and Corporate Social Responsibility
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie: w27493
Theory offers differing perspectives and predictions about the impact of product market competition on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Using firm-level data on CSR from 2002 through 2015 and panel data on competition laws in 48 countries, we discover that intensifying competition induces firms to increase CSR activities. Analyses indicate that (a) intensifying competition spurs firms to invest more in CSR as a strategy for strengthening relationships with workers, suppliers, and customers and (b) the competition-CSR effect is stronger in economies where social norms prioritize CSR-type activities, e.g., treating others fairly, satisfying implicit agreements, protecting the environment, etc.
June 2020Social Distancing and Social Capital: Why U.S. Counties Respond Differently to COVID-19
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie: w27393
Since social distancing is the primary strategy for slowing the spread of many diseases, understanding why U.S. counties respond differently to COVID-19 is critical for designing effective public policies. Using daily data from about 45 million mobile phones to measure social distancing we examine how counties responded to both local COVID-19 cases and statewide shelter-in-place orders. We find that social distancing increases more in response to cases and official orders in counties where individuals historically (1) engaged less in community activities and (2) demonstrated greater willingness to incur individual costs to contribute to social objectives. Our work highlights the importance of these two features of social capital—community engagement and individual commitment to societal in...
April 2020Corporate Immunity to the COVID-19 Pandemic
with Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie: w27055
Using data on over 6,000 firms across 56 economies during the first quarter of 2020, we evaluate the connection between corporate characteristics and stock price reactions to COVID-19 cases. We find that the pandemic-induced drop in stock prices was milder among firms with (a) stronger pre-2020 finances (more cash, less debt, and larger profits), (b) less exposure to COVID-19 through global supply chains and customer locations, (c) more CSR activities, and (d) less entrenched executives. Furthermore, the stock prices of firms with greater hedge fund ownership performed worse, and those of firms with larger non-financial corporate ownership performed better. We believe ours is the first paper to assess international, cross-firm stock price reactions to COVID-19 as functions of these pre-sho...

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