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Does ESG investing pay-off? An analysis of the Eurozone area before and during the Covid-19 pandemic

Asteriou, D., Pilbeam, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-5609-8620 & Pouliot, W. (2023). Does ESG investing pay-off? An analysis of the Eurozone area before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. International Journal of Finance & Economics, doi: 10.1002/ijfe.2865


We examine whether the stock return performance of 620 Eurozone companies based on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic on both a nominal and risk adjusted basis. We also look at how country level governance indicators interact with our samples of ESGHigh and ESGLow companies to affect both nominal and risk adjusted investment returns. We use both panel data and cross-sectional regressions as well as the difference-in-differences approach to derive the empirical results. We generally find some evidence that highly rated ESG firms performed slightly worse than lower rated ESG both overall and during the pandemic. However, once we control for governance at the country level, we find that in high governance scoring countries ESGHigh companies perform better than ESGLow companies. Finally, when we examine the relative performance of EU companies compared to companies in economies less impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, namely South Korea and Australia, we find that during the pandemic, the South Korean and Australian companies performed much better than their counterparts in Europe.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Finance & Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher Keywords: country governance, Covid-19, ESG investing, panel data, Sharpe ratio
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
[thumbnail of Int  J Fin Econ - 2023 -ESG-Final.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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