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Trends in the literature on socially responsible investment: Looking for the keys under the lamppost


  • Gunther Capelle-Blancard

    () (CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • S. Monjon

    (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - AgroParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CIRAD - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement)


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. (c) 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunther Capelle-Blancard & S. Monjon, 2012. "Trends in the literature on socially responsible investment: Looking for the keys under the lamppost," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00733402, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00733402
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2012.01658.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christophe Depres & Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2008. "Contracting for Environmental Property Rights: The Case of Vittel," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 412-434, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Trinks, Arjan & Scholtens, Bert & Mulder, Machiel & Dam, Lammertjan, 2017. "Divesting Fossil Fuels: The Implications for Investment Portfolios," MPRA Paper 76383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Anett Wins & Bernhard Zwergel, 2016. "Comparing those who do, might and will not invest in sustainable funds: a survey among German retail fund investors," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 9(1), pages 51-99, April.
    3. Roth Tran, Brigitte, 2015. "Divest, Disregard, or Double Down?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1hw1k2ps, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    4. Ehlers, Melf-Hinrich & Sutherland, Lee-Ann, 2016. "Patterns of attention to renewable energy in the British farming press from 1980 to 2013," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 959-973.
    5. Patricia Crifo & Vanina D. Forget, 2015. "The Economics Of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Firm-Level Perspective Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 112-130, February.
    6. Hachigian Heather, 2015. "Ambiguity, discretion and ethics in Norway’s sovereign wealth fund," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(4), pages 603-631, December.
    7. Riikka Sievänen & Hannu Rita & Bert Scholtens, 2013. "The Drivers of Responsible Investment: The Case of European Pension Funds," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 137-151, September.
    8. Revelli, Christophe, 2016. "Re-embedding financial stakes within ethical and social values in socially responsible investing (SRI)," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-5.
    9. Dam, Lammertjan & Scholtens, Bert, 2015. "Toward a theory of responsible investing: On the economic foundations of corporate social responsibility," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 103-121.
    10. Amelia Bilbao-Terol & Mar Arenas-Parra & Verónica Cañal-Fernández & Mariano Jiménez, 2016. "A sequential goal programming model with fuzzy hierarchies to sustainable and responsible portfolio selection problem," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 67(10), pages 1259-1273, October.
    11. repec:wly:mgtdec:v:38:y:2017:i:2:p:238-251 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Emiel Duuren & Auke Plantinga & Bert Scholtens, 2016. "ESG Integration and the Investment Management Process: Fundamental Investing Reinvented," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 525-533, October.
    13. Bert Scholtens & Riikka Sievänen, 2013. "Drivers of Socially Responsible Investing: A Case Study of Four Nordic Countries," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 605-616, July.
    14. Brigitte Roth Tran, 2017. "Divest, Disregard, or Double Down?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-042, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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