ABSTRACT. “Tragedy of the commons” is a powerful concept to analyze a variety of problems related to environmental sustainability. The commons problem can be solved if individuals behave altruistically. In the business context, this article studies the proposition that corporate social responsibility (CSR) can avert the tragedy of the commons by examining one case study in depth: Coca-Cola’s bottling operations in Rajasthan, India. In spite of choosing a context favorable to the proposition, the results indicate that CSR does not avert the tragedy of the commons. To address the major environmental challenges, it is essential to develop regulatory regimes with appropriate incentives and ability to enforce sanctions. pp. 11–33
JEL Codes: G34; M14; Q56

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; tragedy of the commons; common-pool resource; environmental sustainability

How to cite: Karnani, Aneel (2014), “Corporate Social Responsibility Does Not Avert the Tragedy of the Commons. Case Study: Coca-Cola India,” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 9(3): 11–33.

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Stephen M. Ross School of Business,
University of Michigan

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