Houseowner risks: 13x new research on houseowner and job risks, migration, good lobbying, online altruism, criminal lawyers, rule of law, biodiversity, green bank risks, climate votes, private equity and innovation (“#” shows the number of SSRN full paper downloads as of Jan. 4th, 2023)
Social and ecological research: Houseowner risks
Houseowner risks (1): Feeling Rich, Feeling Poor: Housing Wealth Effects and Consumption in Europe by Serhan Cevik and Sadhna Naik from the International Monetary Fund as of Dec. 13th, 2023 (#24): “Residential property accounts for, on average, about 55 percent of aggregate household wealth in Europe, but exhibits significant variation across countries. This paper provides a dynamic analysis of housing wealth effects on consumer spending in a panel of quarterly observations on 20 European countries during the period 1980–2023…. Estimation results confirm that household consumption responds strongly to house price movements and disposable income growth in real terms. … Our seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter estimations imply that the average decline of 1.96 percent in real house prices in the first quarter of 2023 could dampen consumer spending by about -0.51 percentage points in our sample of European countries on a cumulative basis over a horizon of eight quarters” (p. 11/12).
Houseowner risks (2): Who Bears Climate-Related Physical Risk? by Natee Amornsiripanitch and David Wylie as of Dec. 1st, 2023 (#74): “This paper combines data on current and future property-level physical risk from major climate-related perils (storms, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires) that owner-occupied single-family residences face in the contiguous United States. Current expected damage from climate-related perils is approximately $19 billion per year. Severe convective storms and inland floods account for almost half of the expected damage. The central and southern parts of the U.S. are most exposed to climate-related physical risk, with hurricane-exposed areas on the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts being the riskiest areas. Relative to currently low-risk areas, currently high-risk areas have lower household incomes, lower labor market participation rates, and lower education atainment, suggesting that the distribution of climate-related physical risk is correlated with economic inequality” (abstract).
Job climate risks: Do firms mitigate climate impact on employment? Evidence from US heat shocks by Viral V Acharya, Abhishek Bhardwaj, and Tuomas Tomunen as of Dec. 20th, 2023 (#32): “… we studied how firms respond to extreme temperature shocks … We found that firms operating in multiple counties respond to these shocks by reducing employment in the affected county and increasing it in unaffected ones, … Single location firms simply scale down their employment. We found that the effect is stronger for firms that are more profitable, less levered and financially constrained … We also found that the effect is stronger for firms that are more concerned about their climate change exposure and that have a larger fraction of ESG funds as their owners … We also found that counties experiencing heat shocks experience employment shift from small to large firms within the county” (p. 27).
Positive immigration: The Macroeconomic Effects of Large Immigration Waves by Philipp Engler, Margaux MacDonald, Roberto Piazza, and Galen Sher of the International Monetary Fund as of Dec. 28th, 2023 (#9): “In OECD, large immigration waves raise domestic output and productivity in both the short and the medium term, pointing to significant dynamic gains for the host economy. We find no evidence of negative effects on aggregate employment of the native-born population. In contrast, our analysis of large refugee flows into emerging and developing countries does not find clear evidence of macroeconomic effects on the host country …”.
Pro lobbying: The Lobbying for Good Movement by Alberto Alemanno as of Dec. 13th, 2023 (#735): “Lobbying is about providing ideas and sharing concerns with policymakers to make them—and the whole policy process—more responsive. … lobbying is one of the most effective ways to enact political, economic, and social change … Only a handful of nonprofits lobby …. “ (abstract).
Online Altruism: What it is and how it Differs from Other Kinds of Altruism by Katherine Lou and Luciano Floridi as of Nov. 10th, 2023 (#80): “Online altruism often contrasts with the ideals of Effective Altruism. Altruistic acts online are often not particularly planned by the giver in advance, they are not the most effective uses of a certain amount of money, and they definitely do not aim toward a long-term vision that solves humanity’s most pressing problems. That is because participants in online altruism tend to focus on the experience and immediate effects on another human being, enabled through online platform mechanisms. … creating a more altruistic society and meeting the needs of people in the present, regardless of whether such altruism is maximally effective or in pursuit of any larger vision, seems just as crucial to be able to build a better world. … It is complementary to other forms of altruism, not an alternative” (p. 23/24).
Criminal lawyers? Lawyers and the Abuse of Government Power by Margaret Tarkington as of Nov. 29th, 2023 (#16): “The legal profession needs to amend the rules of professional conduct to protect our constitutional system of government from those most likely to effectively undermine it: lawyers. The historic federal indictment against former President Donald Trump for conspiring to stay in power after losing the 2020 presidential election included five attorney co-conspirators: … Eight lawyers were indicted in Georgia on similar charges. …. Lawyers weren’t just involved in Trump’s plot; they devised and enabled it. Rather than accurately advise Trump that he had lost and needed to concede, lawyers crafted a plan to circumvent court losses and subvert States’ certified electors—effectively disenfranchising seven entire States to enable Trump to win with only 232 electoral votes. To accomplish this end, lawyers recreated a faux version of the 1876 constitutional crisis by fabricating false electoral slates—manipulating law and fact to enable a coup and give it the trappings of legality and thus legitimacy. Only lawyers could have performed these services” (abstract).
Responsible investment research
Rule of law: Does Rule of Law Matter For Firms? Evidence From Shifting Political Control in Hong Kong by Jonathan S. Hartley as of Dec. 12th, 2023 (#58): “This paper analyzes Hong Kong’s 2020 National Security Law as introduced and imposed by the Communist Party of China as a natural experiment in diminishing the rule of law in a trade-financial hub …. this paper presents evidence that the National Security Law caused significant uncertainty in the rule of law, emigration of residents and foreign firms, and declines in the valuations of Hong Kong firms and residential real estate as well as a decline in real GDP per capita. … stock prices were most particularly sensitive in the real estate, air travel, and financial/banking sectors while less sensitive in the power and utility, hospital/gaming, and multinational/other industry categories“ (p. 11). My comment: I replaced my minimum country selection requirements for “Human Rights” with demanding minimum requirements for “Rule of Law” a few years ago, because rule of law is a broader “responsibility” measurement criterion. Therefore, I exclude e.g. investments in companies headquartered in BRICS countries.
Biodiversity premium: Do Investors Care About Biodiversity? by Alexandre Garel, Arthur Romec, Zacharias Sautner and Alexander F. Wagner as of Dec. 28th, 2023 (#2210): “… biodiversity preservation can clash with actions taken to address climate change. For example, renewable energy and electric cars require lithium, cobalt, magnesium, and nickel, the mining of which comes with severe impacts on biodiversity (and on the human communities that rely on biodiversity). … Examining a large sample of international stocks, we find that over our sample period, investors did not care about the impact of firms on biodiversity, on average. However, things appear to be changing, as we document the emergence of a biodiversity footprint premium following the Kunming Declaration (the first part of the COP15). Consistent with this effect, we document negative stock price reactions for firms with large biodiversity footprints in the days following the Kunming Declaration. Stock prices of firms with large biodiversity footprints further dropped after the Montreal Agreement (the second part of the COP15). Our results indicate that investors start to ask for a return premium in light of the uncertainty associated with future biodiversity regulation“ (p. 29/30).
Unknown climate risks: The effects of climate change-related risks on banks: A literature review by Olivier de Bandt, Laura-Chloé Kuntz, Nora Pankratz, Fulvio Pegoraro, Haakon Solheim, Greg Sutton, Azusa Takeyama and Dora Xia as of Dec. 6th, 2023: “The survey acknowledges the great number of new research papers that have very recently been made available … Apart from a few outliers … the microeconomic impacts of climate change on particular portfolios are relatively small, below 50 bp on loan and bond spreads. … several authors conclude that realized returns on climate change-related risks are below expected return, providing evidence of an underestimation of risk. … Liquidity issues arising from climate change-related shocks are still insufficiently researched. … The overall impact of climate change, which becomes multifaceted and affects various portfolios at the same time and in a correlated fashion, may therefore be more significant. In particular, the difficulty to model possible non-linear effects related to climate change and to capture tipping points might lead to an underestimation of risks. … There are still data issues, notably in terms of granularity, as well as methodological issues, which prevent a definite assessment of the situation, both for physical risks (lack of exact location of the exposures in many instances) and transition risks (notably lack of evaluation for SMEs)” (p. 28/29). My comment: I try to invest in listed stocks with low ESG-risks and high SDG-alignments which should reduce risks, see Divestments: 49 bei 30 Aktien meines Artikel 9 Fonds – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)
Voting deficits: Climate Votes: The Great Deception: An assessment of asset managers’ climate votes in 2023 by Agathe Masson from Reclaim Finance as of December 2023: “… the assessment of 2023 voting reveals that asset managers are encouraging fossil fuel companies to pursue expansion plans, exacerbating the global warming crisis. They therefore fail their responsibility to make long-term investment decisions integrating climate-related risks, and are at real risk of being accused of greenwashing“ (p. 4). My comment: For my direct equity portfolios, I only accept 0% fossil energy production. Unfortunately, many of the strictest “sustainable” ETFs still include such production so that I cannot make sure that my responbile ETF-Portfolios have 0% exposure to fossil energy production. Regarding my opinion on “transition investments” see ESG Transition Bullshit? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)
ESG affects PE: ESG Incidents and Fundraising in Private Equity by Teodor Duevski, Chhavi Rastogi, and Tianhao Yao as of Dec. 14th, 2023 (#55): “Using a sample of global buyout investments, we find that experiencing an environvimental and social (E&S) incident in its portfolio companies … Affected PE firms are less likely to raise a subsequent fund and the subsequent funds are smaller. The relative size of subsequent funds are 7.6% smaller for PE firms experiencing higher-than-median number of E&S incidents, compared to those with no incidents. The effect is stronger for less reputable PE firms” (abstract).
Other investment research (in: Houseowner risks)
Innovative VC: How Resilient is Venture-Backed Innovation? Evidence from Four Decades of U.S. Patenting by Sabrina T. Howell, Josh Lerner, Ramana Nanda, and Richard Townsend as of Oct. 5th, 2023 (#742): “This paper shows that while patents filed by VC-backed firms are of significantly higher quality than the average patent, VC-backed innovation is substantially more procyclical. We trace this to changes in innovation by early-stage VC-backed startups“ (p. 22).
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