Research on 'Responsible Investment': An Influential Literature Analysis Comprising a Rating, Characterisation, Categorisation and Investigation

84 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2009 Last revised: 19 Aug 2009

See all articles by Andreas G. F. Hoepner

Andreas G. F. Hoepner

Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin; European Commission - DG FISMA

David G. McMillan

University of Stirling

Date Written: August 14, 2009


We develop Influential Literature Analysis (ILA) as a four step approach, which improves upon existing methods to synthesise research areas. The first step rates the candidate studies for a research synthesis according to their influence and selects the most influential ones to be synthesised. The second and third step characterises and categorises the influential studies, respectively, while the last step investigates the (sometimes conflicting) results and interpretations offered by influential studies in depth. Unlike existing approaches, in which the reviewers predominantly assess the relevance of candidate studies for their review themselves, ILA outsources its study assessment to the community of researchers by using researchers' average study influence judgement approximately embedded in citations. This process offers reviewers a much needed valid and predominantly author independent mean to select studies from ever increasing research areas. As we also improve on current citations measures and design a preventive mean against over-specification into our ILA's structure, ILA can assess any type of unpublished work with a higher precision than previous studies and adjust for the imperfections of citation based study influence measurement in any synthesis setting, respectively. Applying ILA to responsible investment, we find responsible investment to be under-theorised and financially successful responsible investing to likely require a specific responsible investment skill. We also investigate the hypothesis that responsible funds do not necessarily have to experience a diversification penalty as commonly believed but might even enjoy a diversification benefit in some cases. Furthermore, we extend previous research, as we hypothesise that investors can fairly be expected to demand a higher premium on climate change than on business cycle induced systematic risk in a few decades, which implies a promising financial performance potential of climatically responsible funds. Our ILA suggests to many responsible funds the need for training and advice to realise their financial potential and to researchers a multitude of routes for future influential research.

Keywords: citation analysis, diversification, ethical investment, literature review, socially responsible investment, research methods, research synthesis

JEL Classification: A13, B40, G11, M14

Suggested Citation

Hoepner, Andreas G. F. and McMillan, David G., Research on 'Responsible Investment': An Influential Literature Analysis Comprising a Rating, Characterisation, Categorisation and Investigation (August 14, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Andreas G. F. Hoepner (Contact Author)

Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin ( email )

Blackrock, Co. Dublin

European Commission - DG FISMA ( email )

2 Rue de Spa
Brussels, 1000

David G. McMillan

University of Stirling ( email )

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom

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