Is Sustainable Finance a Dangerous Placebo?

event calendar icon

31 Oct 2023

11:30 -12:45

Times are shown in local time.

Open to: Members of University of Cambridge

event map pin icon

Room W2.01 (Cambridge Judge Business School)

Trumpington St



United Kingdom

Join our Finance seminar

Finance seminar.

About the seminar topic

Speaker: Dr Julian Kölbel, University of St Gallen

A first-order concern regarding sustainable finance is that it may crowd out individual support for more effective, policy-driven approaches to address societal challenges. We test the validity of this concern in a pre-registered experiment in the context of a real referendum on a climate law with a representative sample of the Swiss population (N=2,051).

We find that the opportunity to invest in a climate-conscious fund does not erode individuals’ support for climate regulation. While sustainable finance may resemble a placebo in the sense that individuals appear very optimistic about its societal impact, it is not a dangerous placebo that crowds out political engagement.

Speaker bio

Dr. Julian Kölbel is Assistant Professor of sustainable finance at the University of St Gallen, School of Finance and Centre for Financial Services Innovation. He is also a research affiliate at MIT Sloan, where he is a co-founder of the Aggregate Confusion Project, and faculty member of the Swiss Finance Institute.

His research covers the real-world impact of sustainable investing, analysis of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics, and investor preferences for sustainability. Julian has studied at ETH Zurich and the University of Oxford. Next to his academic work, he serves on the investment committee of the Swiss pension fund Abendrot.

This seminar is co-sponsored by the Cambridge Corporate Governance Network (CCGN).


If you would like to register, or know more about this event, please email Emily Brown.