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Aug 25, 2017

Do Investors Actually Value Sustainability? New Evidence from Investor Reactions to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)

Research exploring investor reactions to sustainability has substantial empirical limitations, which we address with a large-scale longitudinal financial event study of the first global sustainability index, DJSI World. We examine investor reactions to firms from 27 countries over 17 years that are added, deleted, or continue on the index. We find that once relevant controls and comparisons to observationally-equivalent firms beyond the index are included, DJSI events have only limited significance and/or materiality. Nonetheless, investors’ valuation of sustainability around the world has evolved over time, involving diminishing reactions to U.S. firms and increasing benefits, particularly of continuation on the index, over time. The study highlights the importance of careful analysis and longitudinal global samples in making inferences about the financial effects of social performance.

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