Get Real! Individuals Prefer More Sustainable Investments

53 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018 Last revised: 25 Feb 2020

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 had focused very little on sustainable investments. The pension fund then gave its members a real vote on whether to increase sustainable investments. We find that 67.9% of participants voted for more sustainable investments with their pension savings at stake. Even among participants who expected lower financial returns if sustainable investments were increased, a majority voted for more sustainable investments. These results can have consequences for asset pricing 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, G23, G28

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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