Socially Responsible Investments: A Behavioral Study of International Retail Investors

Vendela Samuelsson & Frederike Soyka

Student thesis: Master thesis


The increasing interest for socially responsible investments among retail investors during the last decades, has also sparked an interest in research of the socially responsible investor. Nonetheless, the findings from previous research on the responsible investor have been rather scattered. Furthermore, research on socially responsible investors in relation to nationality is scarce. Thus, this thesis seeks to analyze the investment behavior of individuals from Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and the impact of socially responsible attributes on their decisionmaking process. To achieve this goal, a discrete choice experiment was conducted. The experiment provided insights into the main influential factors of SR investment behavior. The findings revealed that return on investment still has a high impact on the overall investment decision, while environmental, social and governance focus showed different effects on individuals’ utility. Nonetheless, when analyzed deeper, the environmental factor was found to be the most pressing for respondents. No effect on SR behavior among respondents from different origins could be concluded, neither could the effect of age. Additionally, women were found to be more careful investors than men. This research presents a broad picture of investment behavior when it comes to SRI, while also revealing different perceptions of SRI. Hence, the findings generate indications of potential use for providers of SRI. Since the experiment was conducted on a small sample of respondents, future investigations on SRI should be based on larger samples. While the experiment provides new insights into the behavior of respondents, further research analyzing real investment behavior rather than hypothetical behavior would further strengthen the base of this field of research

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages122
SupervisorsKristian Roed Nielsen