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Who are the Shareholders in Australia and what are their Ethical Opinions?: an empirical analysis

Hanson, D and Tranter, BK 2006 , 'Who are the Shareholders in Australia and what are their Ethical Opinions?: an empirical analysis' , Corporate Governance, vol. 14, no. 1 , pp. 23-32 , doi:

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Analysis of the 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes verifies claims that Australia is a share-owning democracy. We show that higher income earners are most likely to own shares and to own shares in a large number of companies, and that the 45–54 and 54–56 year age groups are the peak for ownership. We also investigate ethical issues relating to shareownership by examining scenarios under which owners would sell their shares. Ethical concern is highest on the issue of child labour. Yet there is surprisingly little concern amongst shareowners over racial discrimination, which was less likely to lead to the sales of shares than investment in genetically modified crops or foods, paying large bonuses to executives or the production of military weapons. Women are more likely than men to adopt an “ethical” stance on share ownership across all scenarios, although high income earners are less likely to sell shares in the face of racial discrimination or the production of military weapons by their companies. Postmaterialists are just as likely as materialists to own shares, but much more likely to sell them for ethical reasons, while those on the “left” of politics appear to be more ethical than the “right”. Finally, owning shares in several companies reduces the likelihood of ethical behaviour, with those owning shares in six or more companies least likely to sell for any ethical reason.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hanson, D and Tranter, BK
Keywords: Share-owning ethics governance child labour racial discrimination
Journal or Publication Title: Corporate Governance
ISSN: 09648410
DOI / ID Number:
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