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Corporate Social Responsibility, Product Differentiation Strategy and Export Performance
Código: WPE – 186
Dirk Michael Boehe
This paper argues that corporate social responsibility (CSR) may contribute to product differentiation in export markets and thus improve export performance. We test this argument by observing a period of decreasing export competitiveness in a leading emerging economy (Brazil). Using a large-scale survey design with 252 questionnaires completed by medium and large sized Brazilian exporters, we used structural equations modeling to test our hypotheses. The results suggest that CSR product differentiation predicts export performance better than product quality differentiation and almost as well as product innovation differentiation. Multigroup analysis further revealed that the positive and significant effect of CSR product differentiation on export performance is likely to be contingent on the number and type (developing vs. developed) of countries targeted. Our study contributes to literature on export performance and CSR by introducing an important explanatory variable of firm performance.