Survey on Sector Exclusions

41 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2019 Last revised: 14 Feb 2020

See all articles by Vaska Atta-Darkua

Vaska Atta-Darkua

University of Cambridge

Elroy Dimson

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School; London Business School

Date Written: February 9, 2020


We survey industry professionals’ views on sector exclusions. Respondents consider negative portfolio screenings most useful for attracting funds from ethically concerned investors and least useful for risk management purposes. Professionals do not anticipate controversial sector outperformance. However, they disagree the least about the expected returns of non-controversial sectors relative to controversial sectors. Investor disagreement has been linked to higher realised returns, suggesting one reason why ex-ante expectations can differ from ex-post realisations. Exclusion scepticism does not seem to stem from an expectation of controversial stocks superior performance, indicating that favourable risk and return expectations are not its driving force.

Keywords: divestment, negative screening, activism, fossil fuel, corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental, social, and governance (ESG)

JEL Classification: G11, G15, G23, G41, Q51

Suggested Citation

Atta-Darkua, Vaska and Dimson, Elroy, Survey on Sector Exclusions (February 9, 2020). Available at SSRN:

Vaska Atta-Darkua (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

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Elroy Dimson

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

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+44 700 607 7390 (Fax)

London Business School ( email )

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