Active Fund Management when ESG Matters: An Equilibrium Perspective
78 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2022 Last revised: 29 Jan 2023
Date Written: August 5, 2022
This paper develops and applies an information acquisition model to analyze active management when ESG matters. In equilibrium, sustainable investing leads mutual fund managers to acquire information when cross-asset ESG attributes and cross-fund ESG preferences are dispersed. Sustainability-based information decisions magnify fund heterogeneities in stock holdings and tracking errors, amplify the scope of active management, as well as reduce discount rates and improve price informativeness for underlying assets with sustainability profiles that depart from the average. Enforcing ESG-perceptive funds to adopt the optimal policies of ESG-indifferent funds leads to substantial utility losses, illustrating the economic significance of nonpecuniary motives.
Keywords: ESG, Information acquisition, Mutual funds, Asset pricing
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G23, M14, Q01
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