Eliciting Pension Beneficiaries’ Sustainability Preferences: Why and How?
Wharton Pension Research Council Working Paper No. 2021-12
Published in Hammond, P.B., R. Maurer, and O.S. Mitchell (Eds.) (2023). Pension Funds and Sustainable Investment: Challenges and Opportunities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Posted: 24 Jul 2021 Last revised: 19 May 2023
Date Written: July 1, 2021
We explore whether beneficiaries of pension plans should have a voice in the fund’s sustainable investments. We hypothesize that the answer to this question depends on a fund’s legal and societal contexts, benchmarking pressure, and fund-specific factors such as the fund’s size and the board’s composition. We uncover heterogeneity in the degree to which beneficiaries are involved in decision-making. Some pension funds have started a dialogue with their participants, mainly using survey instruments. We provide an example of a fund that gave its participants a real vote, while avoiding the pitfalls that come with hypothetical surveys on individual preferences.
Keywords: pension participant survey, social preferences, socially responsible investments
JEL Classification: G02, G20, G23, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation