Investor reactions to socially responsible investment

Carmen Pilar Martí-Ballester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyze investor reactions to ethical screening by pension plan managers. Design/methodology/approach - The author presents a sample consisting of data corresponding to 573 pension plans in relation to such aspects as financial performance, inception date, asset size, number of participants, custodial and management fees, and whether their managers adopt ethical screening or give part of their profits to social projects. On this data the author implements the fixed effects panel data model proposed by Vogelsang (2012). Findings - The results obtained indicate that investors/consumers prefer traditional or solidarity pension plans to ethical pension plans. Furthermore, the findings show that ethical investors/consumers are more (less) sensitive to positive (negative) lagged returns than caring and traditional consumers, causing traditional consumers to contribute to pension plans that they already own. Research limitations/implications - The author does not know what types of environmental, social and corporate governance criteria have been adopted by ethical pension plan managers and the weight given to each of these criteria for selecting the stock of the firms in their portfolios that could influence in the investors’ behaviour. Practical implications - The results obtained in the current paper show that investors invest less money in ethical pension plans than in traditional and solidarity pension plans; this could be due to the lack of information for their part. To solve this, management companies could increase the transparency about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) investments to encourage investors to invest in ethical products so these lead to raising CSR standards in companies, and therefore, sustainable development. Social implications - The Spanish socially responsible investment retail market is still at an early phase of development, and regulators should promote it in order to encourage firms to adopt business activities that take into account societal concerns. Originality/value - This paper provides new evidence in a field little analysed. This paper contributes to the existing literature by focusing on examining the behaviour of pension funds investors whose investment time horizon is in the long-term while previous literature focus on analysing behaviour of mutual fund investors whose investment time horizon is in the short/medium term what could cause different investors’ behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-604
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Business ethics
  • Business strategy
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Financial institutions
  • Make or buy decisions
  • Pensions


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