Trends in the literature on socially responsible investment: looking for the keys under the lamppost
SujetSocially and responsible investment; investissement socialement responsable; corporate social responsibility; responsabilité sociale des entreprises; business ethics; éthique des affaires; financial performance; performance financière; greenwashing; altruism; altruisme; pro-social choice; choix pro-sociaux
JEL codeA.A1.A13; G.G1.G11; G.G1.G12; G.G2.G20; M.M1.M14
Journal issueBusiness Ethics
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15080 Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne [CES]
Abstract (EN)In this paper, we use online search engines and archive collections to examine the popularity of socially responsible investing (SRI) in newspapers and academic journals. A simple content analysis suggests that most of the papers on SRI focus on financial performance. This profusion of research is somewhat puzzling as most of the studies used roughly the same methodology and obtained very similar results. So, why are there so many studies on SRI financial performance? We argue that the academic literature on SRI is mostly data driven: the famous ‘looking for the keys under the lamppost’ syndrome. The question of the financial performance of the SRI funds is certainly relevant but maybe too much attention has been paid to this issue, whereas more research is needed on a conceptual and theoretical ground, in particular the aspirations of SRI investors, the relationship between regulation and SRI as well as the assessment of extra-financial performances.
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