Ethics in Finance Research: Recommendations from an Academic Experts Delphi Panel

Abstract

This paper examines the flow of thoughts on ethics in finance both from academic experts and from published contributions that constitute an alternative view of the financial field from an ethical point of view. A Delphi method was used to achieve consensus about the perceptions and opinions academic experts hold about ethics in financial matters and in the research agenda. This approach permits the early detection of emerging lines, narrowing the research line and shortening subject selection time. An active research map of researchers, countries and lines of investigation was drawn up, and recommendations made of areas that could be highlighted or moderated.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Taking into account the measurement system used, that is to say, important articles in journals selected to establish the rankings of universities and academcis (Adler and Harzing 2009), in this paper we chose the Reuters selection of journals (Web of Science database, Wos) as the proxy for measuring the level of the academic experts, in the awareness, obviously, of its possile limiting effect on this study.

  2. 2.

    Although some topics had already been dealt with years ago, the fact that academics regard them as emergent means that both old topics that are still of relevance and new areas are considered to be contemporary and recent twenty-first century topics. The issue of SRI (Socially Responsible Investment), for instance, has been on the agenda for a good while; since the financial crisis of 2007, however, its impact and the concern aroused among academics have grown exponentially.

  3. 3.

    The SUSTAINABILITY topic, for example, represents long-term (sustainable) wealth creation and an investment research line, and the search keywords were Wealth Creation and Invest* or Ethic* (the asterisk includes any possible declension) in the article title, while GOVERNANCE OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS represents ethical issues in the governance of financial institutions, which is analysed through the following keywords: Ethic*, Governanc* and Financ*. The same structure was adopted for all the topics.

  4. 4.

    Although there is an interest in each of the concepts taken independently (ethics and finance), the object of this paper was joint consideration of the two concepts; accordingly, separate consideration of these concepts lies completely beyond the purposes of this contribution.

  5. 5.

    This reflects the average values based on the opinions of the specialists in the field, measured using a 5-point Likert Scale.

  6. 6.

    This characterizes the location of the data set. It is not symmetric around the centre point and it is negative, indicating that the data is skewed left. For EF, the location for the left is higher than for FE1.

  7. 7.

    This characterizes the variability of the data set. Low values tend to have light tails, or a lack of outliers, which is the case of EF. However, FE1 and FE2 have higher levels of kurtosis, highlighting the higher differences between the opinions of specialists in the field around this second understanding of reach.

  8. 8.

    There is a lot of literature on some topics, such as corporate governance; the academic experts probably evaluated these subjects as falling within the category of emerging topics concerning ethics in finance, although many of the papers do not deal specifically with the ethical perspective.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the ethics in finance experts for their participation in the Delphi process and their insightful comments. They also express their appreciation and thanks to ECRI. This work is a contribution from the research group ECRI Ethics in Finance and Social Value Research Gropu (www.ehu.eus/ecri) (GIU 15/10) and is supported by the Emilio Soldevilla Foundation for research and development in business economics (FESIDE).

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Correspondence to Leire San-Jose.

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San-Jose, L., Retolaza, J.L. Ethics in Finance Research: Recommendations from an Academic Experts Delphi Panel. J Acad Ethics 16, 19–38 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-017-9293-y

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Keywords

  • Delphi
  • Ethics
  • Academic
  • Research lines

JEL Classification

  • G10
  • M10
  • M14