How firms respond to being rated

Published

Journal Article

While many rating systems seek to help buyers overcome information asymmetries when making purchasing decisions, we investigate how these ratings also influence the companies being rated. We hypothesize that ratings are particularly likely to spur responses from firms that receive poor ratings, and especially those that face lower-cost opportunities to improve or that anticipate greater benefits from doing do. We test our hypotheses in the context of corporate environmental ratings that guide investors to select 'socially responsible,' and avoid 'socially irresponsible,' companies. We examine how several hundred firms responded to corporate environmental ratings issued by a prominent independent social rating agency, and take advantage of an exogenous shock that occurred when the agency expanded the scope of its ratings. Our study is among the first to theorize about the impact of ratings on subsequent performance, and we introduce important contingencies that influence firm response. These theoretical advances inform stakeholder theory, institutional theory, and economic theory. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chatterji, AK; Toffel, MW

Published Date

  • September 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 917 - 945

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0266

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0143-2095

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/smj.840

Citation Source

  • Scopus