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The Performance of Socially Responsible Investment Funds: A Meta-Analysis


  • Rathner, Sebastian

    () (University of Salzburg)


Empirical studies, which analyse the performance of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds relative to conventional funds, find contradictory results. The aim of this paper is to investigate, with the help of a meta-analysis, how selected primary study characteristics influence the probability of a significant under- or outperformance of SRI funds compared with conventional funds. 25 studies with more than 500 observations are included in the meta-analysis. The results of this paper suggest that the consideration of the survivorship bias in a study increases (decreases) the probability of a significant outperformance (underperformance) of SRI funds relative to conventional funds. The focus on United States (US) SRI funds increases (decreases) the probability of a significant outperformance (underperformance) too. The time period influences the probability of a significant under- and outperformance of SRI funds as well, but based on the results of this paper, it is not possible to draw general conclusions on this variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Rathner, Sebastian, 2012. "The Performance of Socially Responsible Investment Funds: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 2012-3, University of Salzburg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:sbgwpe:2012_003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oberhofer, Harald & Philippovich, Tassilo & Winner, Hannes, 2010. "Distance matters in away games: Evidence from the German football league," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 200-211, April.
    2. Jeroen Derwall & Kees Koedijk, 2009. "Socially Responsible Fixed-Income Funds," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(1-2), pages 210-229.
    3. Renneboog, Luc & Ter Horst, Jenke & Zhang, Chendi, 2008. "Socially responsible investments: Institutional aspects, performance, and investor behavior," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1723-1742, September.
    4. Brown, Stephen J, et al, 1992. "Survivorship Bias in Performance Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 553-580.
    5. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Leiter, Andrea & Thöni, Magdalena & Winner, Hannes, 2012. "Evaluating human life using court decisions on damages for pain and suffering," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-128.
    7. Louche, C. & Lydenberg, Steven, 2006. "Socially responsible investment: differences between Europe and United States," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2006-22, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
    8. Rob Bauer & Jeroen Derwall & Rogér Otten, 2007. "The Ethical Mutual Fund Performance Debate: New Evidence from Canada," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 111-124, January.
    9. Andrea Chegut & Hans Schenk & Bert Scholtens, 2011. "Assessing SRI fund performance research: Best practices in empirical analysis," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 77-94, March/Apr.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lean, Hooi Hooi & Ang, Wei Rong & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Performance and performance persistence of socially responsible investment funds in Europe and North America," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 254-266.

    More about this item


    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Ethical Investment; performance; Socially Responsible Investment (SRI); Sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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