Dr. Wiebke Szymczak receives research funding for her project "Behavioral foundations of sustainable financial decisions" from the Idea and Venture Fund 2021. The aim of the Ideas and Venture Fund, which was set up with funds from the Excellence Strategy, is to provide fast and uncomplicated support for measures that serve to prepare a third-party funded project.
People can act sustainably for different reasons. For example, from the point of view of canonical finance research, sustainable decisions can only be expected if material gains can be expected from them. This view is supported by the so-called business case for sustainability. Indeed, a number of studies demonstrate a positive empirical relationship between a company's financial value creation and its sustainability ratings. Contrary to the canonical assumption of homo economicus, however, behavioral economics shows that people generally act rationally only to a limited extent and also take intangible aspects of their decisions into account. Although the implications of behavioral economic findings for the environmental and social sustainability of financial decisions have hardly been researched yet, the possible relevance of a lack of foresight on sustainability in a negative sense, but also of prosocial preferences in a positive sense, are obvious.
The research project will investigate whether and to what extent sustainable decisions are attributable to different types of preferences.