Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sean Flynn

Reader 2

Eric Hughson

Rights Information

© 2019 Emma N Johnson


The growing presence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives today suggests a changing landscape as CSR initiatives have become a core business function. This paper investigates the way in which CSR impacts corporate financial performance (CFP), measured by return on assets (ROA). This study looks at a sample of U.S.-listed industrial companies from 2014-2018 and employs six time-series regression models to test the relationship between CSR and CFP. Results indicate a significantly positive relationship between CSR and CFP of small magnitude. The results show directional consistency in the relationship however they are not statistically different from zero. Because of this my results are not unequivocal and require cautionary interpretation. I argue in this paper that while it is difficult to establish a linear relationship between CSR and CFP from my results I can show that increased CSR has varying magnitude depending on the size of the firm. Results indicate that additional CSR investment yields the highest payoff for small cap companies while it may actually cause negative effects for large cap companies.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.