Predicting pension beneficiaries’ behaviour when offered a socially responsible and impact investment portfolio

George Apostolakis*, Gert van Dijk, Robert J. Blomme, Frido Kraanen, Athanasios P. Papadopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, financial and demographic conditions, including low interest rates and volatile equity markets, have been testing the endurance of pension systems. Concern about the sustainability of pension systems has prompted discussion about introducing individual choices under the collective choice mandate. An ongoing discussion seeks to provide more freedom of choice and to shift towards a more individualized risk system within the collective mandate. This suggested individualization will increase operational costs but aims to keep pensions at current levels by shifting risk onto employees. Following the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), the objective of this paper is to examine pension beneficiaries’ intention to adopt a portfolio consisting of socially responsible and impact investments. We employ confirmatory factor and regression analyses to better understand pension beneficiaries’ attitudes, social norms, perceived consumer effectiveness, and intentions for such a choice. Responses from 637 respondents from a Dutch pension administrative organization were collected and identified as a valid sample. Consistent with the theory, the results of our analysis revealed that attitudes and social norms positively affected individuals’ intention to invest in this specific portfolio. Furthermore, we expand our model and incorporate perceived consumer effectiveness and consumer confidence as important factors influencing and moderating socially responsible behaviour, respectively. Our results imply that understanding the behavioural determinants affecting pension beneficiaries’ intentions can be an effective tool for increasing their involvement in pension affairs by making their own choices. Our findings yield policy recommendations for stimulating socially responsible investment behaviour in pension beneficiaries by examining the determinants of human behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-241
JournalJournal of Sustainable Finance and Investment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • confidence
  • cooperatives
  • Impact investment
  • pension funds
  • perceived consumer effectiveness
  • social responsible investment
  • SRI
  • sustainable investment
  • TPB

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