CEO Education and Corporate Environmental Footprint

Mario Daniele Amore, Morten Bennedsen, Birthe Larsen, Philip Rosenbaum

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We analyze the effect of CEO education on environmental decision-making. Using a unique sample of Danish firms from 1996 to 2012, we find that CEO education significantly improves firms' energy efficiency. We seek to derive causality using health shocks: the hospitalization of highly educated CEOs induces a drop in energy efficiency, whereas the hospitalization of less educated CEOs does not have any significant effect. Exploring the mechanisms at play, we show that our results are largely driven by advanced education in business degrees. Moreover, we show that CEO education is associated with greater environmental awareness: highly educated CEOs exhibit greater concerns for climate change, as measured by a survey of social preferences, and drive more environmentally efficient cars. Taken together, our findings suggest that education shapes managerial styles giving rise to greater sustainability in corporate actions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Pages (from-to)254-273
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • CEOs
  • Education
  • Climate change
  • Energy efficiency

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