This paper estimates a spatial model of proxy voting, the W-NOMINATE method for scaling legislatures, and maps institutional investors onto a left-right dimension based on their votes for fiscal year 2012. The far-left are socially responsible and the far-right are “money-conscious” investors. Significant ideological differences reflect an absence of shareholder unanimity. The proxy adviser ISS, similar to a political leader makes voting recommendations that place it center-left; to the left of most mutual funds. Public pension funds and other investors on the left support a more social and environment-friendly orientation of the firm and fewer executive compensation proposals.
Visiting Associate Professor of Finance, Kellogg School of Management
Assistant Professor of Finance, Carroll School of Management, Boston College