Small-Cap ESG illustration from Aöexa from Pixabay

Small-Cap ESG: Researchpost #167

Small-Cap ESG: 6x new research on (German) migration, climate education, ESG performance, distressed ESG, and biodiversity bond risk (# shows SSRN full paper downloads on March 14th, 2024)

Social and ecological research

East-West migration: Moving Out of the Comfort Zone: How Cultural Norms Affect Attitudes toward Immigration by Yvonne Giesing, Björn Kauder, Lukas Mergele, Niklas Potrafke, Panu Poutvaara as of March 12th, 2024 (#17): “Our causal identification relies on comparing students who moved across the East-West border after German reunification with students who moved within former East Germany. Students who moved from East to West became more positive toward immigration. … the difference between East-West movers and East-East movers increases over time and is driven by East German students who often interacted with fellow students. Effects are stronger in less xenophobic West German regions“ (abstract).

Climate education limits: Climate Change Education Effects on Climate Risk Attitudes and Financial Investment: Experimental Evidence by Bin Chang, Nelson Borges Amaral as of Oct. 5th, 2023 (#44): “… we educate undergraduate finance students about climate change … Students in the course were assigned to manage a simulated investment portfolio which provided us with an opportunity to measure the share of climate-friendly, and climate-damaging exchange-traded funds, as well as the underlying reasons for their investment decisions through a trading journal that each student submitted. Our results reveal that while education influences personal attitudes about the importance of climate risks in investment decisions, those attitudes are not reflected in their investment behavior” (abstract).

Responsible investment research (in: Small-Cap ESG)

Responsible performance: The Risk-Adjusted Performance of Conventional, Socially Responsible, and Islamic Investment Funds by Ezzedine Ghlamallah, Sami Ben Larbi, and Laurence Gialdini as of Feb. 1st, 2024 (#31): “… our study shows that the risk-adjusted performance of SRI funds (Sö: Socially Responsible) does not differ significantly from that of conventional funds, and that both outperform SCI funds (Sö: Shari’ah Compliant). … the underperformance of SCI funds compared to SRI funds can be explained by structural factors such as the limitation of eligible assets (interest rate products and hedging instruments) … our study shows that SCI investment funds have lower systematic risk than SRI funds and are more resilient in times of economic recession” (p. 17).

Distressed ESG? On the Relationship between Financial Distress and ESG Scores by Christian Lohmann, Steffen Möllenhoff, and Sebastian Lehner as of March 8th, 2024 (#32): “This empirical study introduces the financial distress level obtained from a bankruptcy prediction model as a new explanatory variable for ESG scores. … data of listed US companies for 2003– 2022 reveals a pronounced and statistically significant U-shaped relationship between financial distress and ESG scores. A substantial increase in financial distress is associated with increased ESG scores … this empirical study concludes that financially distressed companies distort their ESG scores upward, a robust finding for the applied ESG scores from Refinitiv, MSCI, ESG Book, and Moody’s ESG” (abstract).

Small-Cap ESG performance: Is sustainable entrepreneurship profitable? ESG disclosure and the financial performance of SMEs by Paul P. Momtaz and Isabel M. Parra as of March 7th, 2024 (#22): “… we examine the role of ESG-related information disclosure in a longitudinal sample of Spanish SMEs (Sö: Small and medium enterprises) over the 2012-2022 period. Our results suggests that ESG is positively related to SMEs’ performance, the positive relation is amplified by institutional pressures, and sustainability may protect SMEs against failure, supporting the “doing well by doing good” view in the SME context” (p. 28). My comment: My experience with SME investing is comparable, especially regarding SMEs with a renewable energy focus

Bio credit risk: Biodiversity Risk in the Corporate Bond Market by Sevgi Soylemezgil and Cihan Uzmanoglu as of Feb. 26th, 2024 (#58): “… we find that longer term bonds issued by firms with higher biodiversity risk exposure have higher yield spreads, consistent with biodiversity being perceived as a long-run risk. This effect is stronger among firms with marginal credit quality and those that mention biodiversity regulation in their financial statements. … we find that the impact of biodiversity exposure on yield spreads is more pronounced when biodiversity-related awareness and regulatory risks rise” (abstract).


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