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Corporate Social Responsibility and Government: Creating a Market for Virtue

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)—practices that improve the workplace and benefit society beyond what companies are legally required to do—has grown into an unprecedented global movement. Social and ethical investment funds are on the rise. Corporations are adopting voluntary codes of conduct. Companies are self-reporting on social and environmental practices.

In a new Brookings Institution Press book, The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility, author David Vogel concludes that although the movement has produced a number of important achievements, it is best viewed as a complement rather than a substitute for more effective public policies.

  • How can government contribute to CSR? A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that federal CSR programs were widespread but uncoordinated.
  • What are the appropriate roles of voluntary activities by business and government in improving corporate social performance?
  • What should be the relationship between CSR and public policy?

Senior Fellow Ann Florini moderated a panel discussion to address these questions. Florini was joined by Vogel, Susan Ariel Aaronson of the Kenan Institute, and Loren Yager of the GAO.



Ann Florini

Former Brookings Expert

Professor of Public Policy - School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University



Loren Yager

Director, International Affairs and Trade, U.S. GAO

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