Herding and Anti-Herding Across ESG Funds

D'Alò AmbrogioCiciretti RoccoFerri Giovanni
CEIS Research Paper
We investigate to what extent ESG funds present an herding/anti-herding behavior, and the consequences of their investment strategies in terms of both systematic risk exposure and risk-adjusted returns. Our findings document that ESG funds pursue an anti-herding strategy that leads to higher risk-adjusted returns. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in ESG score at the fund-level is associated with an increase in fund performance of about 3.74 basis points per year. Moreover, we document that such an enhanced performance does not come at the cost of higher systematic risk exposure but instead reduces it. A possible explanation behind our findings is that after the catching-up phase previously documented by the literature, ESG funds are now able to put to good use enhanced stock-picking skills built over the years.

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Number: 524
Keywords: ESG investing, Equity Funds, Herding, Anti-Herding, Risk-Adjusted Returns
JEL codes: G11,C58
Volume: 19
Issue: 8
Date: Friday, November 5, 2021
Revision Date: Friday, November 5, 2021