Research and Reports

At Wharton Social Impact Initiative, we are advancing the science and practice of social impact through rigorous academic and survey-level research around topics such as impact investing and innovative finance, gender lens investing, social entrepreneurship, and more.

Latest Reports

Can Investing in Public Equities Improve the Lives of Women?

For those making charitable donations in the hope of creating desired impact and change in the world, the rise of impact investing creates opportunities and questions: Is it really possible to use one’s investment capital to create positive impact?

Project Sage

A landscape of private equity and debt funds that invest with a gender lens. This overview of existing funds highlights the range of investment opportunities and approaches. It also introduces WSII’s approach to classifying gender investing.

Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investing

An objective, rigorous look at two of the most important aspects of impact investing: financial returns and long-term impact. This study explores the widespread assumption that impact investing private equity funds cannot achieve market-rate financial performance. The report’s findings suggest that – in certain market segments – investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for social impact.

 Fast Facts

  • Published in Oct. 2015
  • Accessed online more than 12,000 times
  • Featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Forbes, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more
  • A follow-up report is in progress

Innovative Finance: Mobilizing Capital for Maximum Impact

Bringing Innovation Back to Innovative Finance

May 2016: Following a convening at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, we released a report summarizing the discussions and highlighting successful strategies to unleash capital, create positive economic returns, and achieve strategic social impact goals around the world.

The Entrepreneurs Spurring Africa’s Rise

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