Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 7/2005: Who is Willing to Let Ethics Guide His Economic Decision-Making? Evidence from Individual Investments in Ethical Funds

Jenny Säve-Söderbergh ()
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Jenny Säve-Söderbergh: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Recent economics literature has devoted attention towards motives beyond the typical selfish norm for economic decision-making. Yet, it still remains a puzzle who allows such considerations to govern their behavior. This paper contributes by empirically identifying some features which differentiate individuals who choose to bear the cost of ethically guided economic decision-making from others. Using unique Swedish data on individual pension portfolio choices, we find that education, the choice of an occupation that is committed to taking care of others, actively joining a group working for a common cause, clearly predict the choice of an ethical screen for individual investments.In contrast to previous findings on altruism, income, financial wealth and age do not govern the decision. The results therefore suggest that investing ethically is typically a choice of principles.

Keywords: Socially Responsible Investing; Altruism; Individual Financial Investments; Individual Decision-Making; Ethics and Norms

JEL-codes: A13; C24; D80; Z13

37 pages, November 24, 2005

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