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The effect of socially responsible investing on portfolio performance

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  • Kempf, Alexander
  • Osthoff, Peer

Abstract

More and more investors apply socially responsible screens when building their stock portfolios. This raises the question whether these investors can increase their performance by incorporating such screens into their investment process. To answer this question we implement a simple trading strategy based on socially responsible ratings from the KLD Research & Analytics: Buy stocks with high socially responsible ratings and sell stocks with low socially responsible ratings. We find that this strategy leads to high abnormal returns of up to 8.7% per year. The maximum abnormal returns are reached when investors employ the best-in-class screening approach, use a combination of several socially responsible screens at the same time, and restrict themselves to stocks with extreme socially responsible ratings. The abnormal returns remain significant even after taking into account reasonable transaction costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Kempf, Alexander & Osthoff, Peer, 2007. "The effect of socially responsible investing on portfolio performance," CFR Working Papers 06-10, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0610
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    2. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    4. Bauer, Rob & Koedijk, Kees & Otten, Roger, 2005. "International evidence on ethical mutual fund performance and investment style," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1751-1767, July.
    5. N. Kreander & R.H. Gray & D.M. Power & C.D. Sinclair, 2005. "Evaluating the Performance of Ethical and Non-ethical Funds: A Matched Pair Analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(7-8), pages 1465-1493.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Socially Responsible Investing; Portfolio Management; Trading Strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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