Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 137–151 | Cite as

The Drivers of Responsible Investment: The Case of European Pension Funds



We investigate what drives responsible investment of European pension funds. Pension funds are institutional investors who assure the income of part of the population for a long period of time. Increasingly, stakeholders hold pension funds accountable for the non-financial consequences of their investments and many funds have engaged in responsible investing. However, it appears that there is a wide difference between pension funds in this respect. We investigate what determines pension funds’ responsible investments on the basis of a survey of more than 250 pension funds in 15 European countries in 2010. We use multinomial logistic regression and find that especially legal origin of the country, ownership of the pension fund and fund size-related variables are to be associated with pension funds′ responsible investment. For fund size, we establish a curvilinear relationship; especially the smallest and largest pension funds in the sample tend to engage with responsible investing.


Pension funds Socially responsible investment Survey Corporate social responsibility Responsible investing Europe Investments Multinomial logistic regression analysis 



We want to thank the editor and the anonymous referees for their useful comments. Riikka Sievänen acknowledges the financial support from the Foundation of Economic Education and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. We are grateful for the comments and suggestions of the participants of the UN’s PRI and MISTRA Conference in Sigtuna, Sweden, September 26–28, 2011. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics & Management, Faculty of Agriculture & ForestryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture & ForestryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Economics, Econometrics & Finance, Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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