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CSR, rationality and the ethical preferences of investors in a laboratory experiment

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  • Consolandi, Costanza
  • Innocenti, Alessandro
  • Vercelli, Alessandro

Abstract

This experimental study aims to clarify to what extent and in which direction investors react to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives meant to upgrade the ethical standards of firms beyond the minimal requirements of law. Subjects in the laboratory were invited to invest their endowment in a portfolio of financial assets. We provided information on the expected returns of each stock and on its inclusion in an ethical index, or exclusion from it. Our findings show that subjects' behavior appears to be a function not only of their individual pay-offs but also of the information on the ethical standards of the firms issuing stocks. Most of them, however, did not show a fully irrational behavior as they consistently correlated the share of stocks with their expected returns. We may conclude that the sizeable reaction of our investors to the inclusion of a stock in the ethical index, or its exclusion from it, is the fruit of a deliberate choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Consolandi, Costanza & Innocenti, Alessandro & Vercelli, Alessandro, 2009. "CSR, rationality and the ethical preferences of investors in a laboratory experiment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 242-252, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:63:y:2009:i:4:p:242-252
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claus Holm & Pall Rikhardsson, 2008. "Experienced and Novice Investors: Does Environmental Information Influence Investment Allocation Decisions?," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 537-557.
    2. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 32-42.
    3. Belkaoui, Ahmed, 1980. "The impact of socio-economic accounting statements on the investment decision: An empirical study," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 263-283, July.
    4. Costanza Consolandi & Ameeta Jaiswal-Dale & Elisa Poggiani & Alessandro Vercelli, 2009. "Global Standards and Ethical Stock Indexes: The Case of the Dow Jones Sustainability Stoxx Index," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 185-197, April.
    5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:145:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2854-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethical stock indexes CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Investors Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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