Although this site is primarily concerned with empirical findings, it is important to recognize that good theoretical work has been done that bears strongly on the field.  If you have time to look at only one paper I suggest Angel and Rivoli (linked below). This study connects back to both classical investment theory - particularly Merton’s work on stock boycotts - and the groundbreaking economic work of Albert Hirschman. Note that, although Hirschman's work actually anticipates the form responsible investment would ultimately take, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty was published in 1970, a year before the launch of the first responsible investment fund in the U.S.


  • James Angel and Pietra Rivoli, "Does Ethical Investing Impose a Cost Upon the Firm? A Theoretical Perspective." - link

  • Ronald Coase, "The Problem of Social Cost" - link

  • Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty - link

  • Jerry Muller, Adam Smith in His Time and Ours - link

  • John Wesley, The Use of Money - link

Classical Finance

  • Fama, Eugene, and Ken French, "Disagreement, tastes, and asset prices" - link

  • Harry Markowitz, “Can You Do Well While Doing Good?” - link

  • Robert Merton, “A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information” - link

Stakeholder Theory

  • Thomas Donaldson and Lee Preston, "The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications" - link

  • Andrew L. Friedman and Samantha Miles, Stakeholders: Theory and Practice - link

  • Thomas M. Jones, "Instrumental Stakeholder Theory: A Synthesis of Ethics and Economics" - link


Agency Theory

  • Michael C. Jensen and William H. Meckling. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure." - link


Systemic Risk

  • Robert Litterman, "Pricing Climate Risk" (speech) - link

  • James Hawley and Andrew Williams, The Rise of Fiduciary Capitalism - link


Business Rationale for CSR

  • Michael Porter, "Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility" - link


Anthropology of Business

  • Terrence Deal and Allan Kennedy, Corporate Cultures, see also The New Corporate Cultures (2008) - link

  • Franz de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics, Our Inner Ape, Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved - link

  • Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise - link