Get Real! Individuals Prefer More Sustainable Investments

48 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018 Last revised: 23 Feb 2019

See all articles by Rob Bauer

Rob Bauer

Maastricht University

Tobias Ruof

Maastricht University

Paul Smeets

Maastricht University

Date Written: February 21, 2019

Abstract

Do people put their pension savings on the table to promote sustainability? We conducted a field experiment with a pension fund that gave its members a real vote for more or less sustainable investments. We find that 67.9% of the participants favor to invest their pension savings in a sustainable manner. Even among participants who expect lower financial returns on sustainable investments, a majority votes for more sustainable investments in their pension plan. Institutional investors benefit from taking their clients’ social preferences seriously, with consequences for asset prices and the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Keywords: field experiment, social preferences, socially responsible investments, sustainable finance, experimental finance

JEL Classification: G02, G20

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Rob and Ruof, Tobias and Smeets, Paul, Get Real! Individuals Prefer More Sustainable Investments (February 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3287430 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3287430

Rob Bauer

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31 43 3883871 (Phone)

Tobias Ruof

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Paul Smeets (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands
+31433883643 (Phone)

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