Date of Submission

Spring 2019

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Economics

Project Advisor 1

Taun Toay

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Using empirical evidence on consumer preferences for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing issues, this author builds upon the economic literature that agents have pro-social inclinations. Evidence from the study shows that ESG preferences are nuanced and heterogeneous, unlike the assumptions in academia and the financial services world today of homogenous preferences across ESG issue categories. This author employs the relatively new methodology of MaxDiff to analyze preferences by forcing trade-offs. A survey with 1,000 respondents was administered to create a rank ordering of ESG issue preferences. The project finds that the highest ranked issues fall within the “social” category of ESG. It also finds that environmental issues rank in the lower-middle, and that governance issues fall to the bottom. The finding challenges the conventional wisdom that people fall into only two categories of returns-focused or morally-focused consumers. The data show that morally-focused consumers have a range of preference structures. In other words, different people have different non-pecuniary preferences. Moreover, their preferences are well-structured, measurable, and useful to help them make choices as consumers in the marketplace as investors.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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