Although this site is primarily concerned with empirical findings, it is important to recognize that some very good theoretical work has been done that bears strongly on the field.  Papers such as Angel and Rivoli's are especially valuable:  they show that, although Hirschman's Exit / Voice / Loyalty framework was constructed long before responsible investment became popular, it nevertheless maps very neatly to modern practice.  Their paper is also notable for its firm grip on the relevant financial theory (in this case Merton's treatment of stock boycotts under CAPM).  


  • 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, On 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

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
  • Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise - link
  • Franz de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics, Our Inner Ape, Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved - link