Ph.D. research is conducted by doctoral candidates at universities
to give them both an understanding of the subject material and
a familiarity with the research methodologies used. The latter
is of direct benefit to the SRI community only when the researcher
takes a job in the field. However, as documents usually made public,
the research products can be immediately useful to SRI professionals.
There does not seem to be many Ph.D. theses that focus exclusively
on social investment, though many on general investment themes
often include some mention of SRI.
Craig Mackenzie's Ph.D. dissertation provides us with a good example.
[this is no longer available online, unfortunately]
"Ethical Investment and the Challenge of Corporate Reform: A critical assessment of the procedures and purposes of UK ethical unit trusts.
Craig Mackenzie, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath 1997
There are 30 ethical investment funds in the UK, managing £1.3bn
of assets on behalf of 150,000 investors. Just 13 years ago there
were none. One goal of ethical investment is to allow people to
invest in the stockmarket while not supporting companies with
unethical practices. The other is to persuade such companies to
reform. I offer a detailed case-study of the leading ethical fund,
Friends Provident Stewardship, which describes the 'screening'
procedures used to achieve these two goals. Ethical funds are
fairly effective at the first goal, but they are not good at persuading
companies to reform. One reason for this lack of success is that
the two purposes of ethical investment can sometimes conflict.
The procedures used by funds to enable people to avoid investing
unethically are not always well suited to the pursuit of corporate
reform. In order to rise to the challenge of corporate reform,
ethical funds need to become better at engaging with companies
and persuading them to change. This may require a significant
shift in priorities from 'screening' to engagement. This thesis
offers evidence in support of these claims, and makes a case to
justify this shift in priorities.
The thesis can be downloaded either as 13 separate MS Word 6 'doc'
files, or as an individual compressed 'zip' file containing all
13 'doc' files."