Research / BFI Working PaperNov 27, 2023

Polarizing Corporations: Does Talent Flow to “Good” Firms?

Emanuele Colonnelli, Tim McQuade, Gabriel Ramos, Thomas Rauter, Olivia Xiong

We conduct a field experiment in partnership with the largest job plat-form in Brazil to study how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices of firms affect talent allocation. We find both an average job-seeker’s preference for ESG and a large degree of heterogeneity across socioeconomic groups, with the strongest preference displayed by highly educated, white, and politically liberal individuals. We combine our experimental estimates with administrative matched employer-employee microdata and estimate an equilibrium model of the labor market. Counterfactual analyses suggest ESG practices increase total economic output and worker welfare, while increasing the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers.

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