Investor Ideology

Investor Ideology

Patrick Bolton, Tao Li, Enrichetta Ravina, Howard Rosenthal

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

April 04 2018

Last revised :

March 18 2019
SSRN Share


  • institutional investors • 
  • proxy voting • 
  • Ideal Points • 
  • Spatial Model of Voting

We estimate institutional investor preferences based on their proxy voting records in publicly listed Russell 3000 firms. We employ a spatial model of proxy voting, the W-NOMINATE method for scaling legislatures, and map 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 “moneyconscious” 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 in the center; 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. A second dimension reflects a more traditional governance view, with management disciplinarian investors, with Glass-Lewis among them, pitted against more management friendly ones.


Real name: 
Tao Li
University of Warwick
Real name:
Howard Rosenthal