This study examines the relation between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and firm innovation. We replicate and extend the work of Mao and Weathers (2019), who investigate employee treatment and innovation, and find that CSR has an incremental effect on innovation outcomes (measured as citation-weighted patent counts) beyond the documented effect of employee treatment. The CSR effect mostly comes from CSR strengths rather than concerns. This effect remains robust after we address potential endogeneity concerns using three identification strategies. We also find that the CSR effect exists only in situations of more effective board monitoring, stronger CEO leadership, and greater employee human capital, and is greater in complex firms. Our overall evidence is consistent with the argument that CSR enhances technological innovation as it helps firms develop internal resources and capabilities related to creative corporate culture, long-term orientation, and employee knowledge and skills that are critical and conducive to innovation success.

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