Is Exclusion Effective?

Forthcoming, Journal of Portfolio Management

10 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by David Blitz

David Blitz

Robeco Quantitative Investments

Laurens Swinkels

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR); Robeco Asset Management

Date Written: September 19, 2019


Many believe that investors can contribute to a more sustainable world by divesting from firms with the worst sustainability profiles. However, exclusion comes down to a transfer of ownership from sustainability-minded investors to other investors, and it is not obvious how this is supposed to lead to changes for the better in society. This article critically examines the arguments for exclusion and concludes that the effectiveness of exclusion policies is questionable. Investors may well achieve more by exerting influence as an active shareholder, through voting and engaging with firms.

Keywords: Divestment; Exclusion; Responsible Investing; Sin Stocks; Sustainability

JEL Classification: G11; G12; G14; G15; M21

Suggested Citation

Blitz, David and Swinkels, Laurens, Is Exclusion Effective? (September 19, 2019). Forthcoming, Journal of Portfolio Management , Available at SSRN: or

David Blitz

Robeco Quantitative Investments ( email )

Weena 850
Rotterdam, 3014 DA

Laurens Swinkels (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

Robeco Asset Management ( email )

Rotterdam, 3000
+31 10 224 2470 (Phone)
+31 10 224 2110 (Fax)

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