Research and Reports

To achieve sustainable social impact, we need more than good intentions, entrepreneurial passion, and capital. We need evidence.

The field of impact investing is new and growing fast. And with this growth comes a thirst for data and analytics:

  • How strong are the financial returns to impact investing?
  • Is the impact in impact investing real or hype?
  • Is there a trade-off between financial returns and impact?
  • Where and how can businesses create meaningful impact?

At Wharton, we know the power of data and analytics. As the academic leader in impact investing research, we are building the databases, conducting the research, and partnering with renowned faculty to answer these questions and more.

Rigorous Research

Wharton is advancing the science and practice of social impact through rigorous academic research on impact investing, gender lens impact investing, ESG reporting, CSR, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, and more.

Faculty Perspective: Professor David Musto Discusses Impact Investing Research

Contracts with (Social) Benefits”, a study by researchers at the Wharton School, Chicago Booth, and Georgia State University College of Law, examines how impact investors draft their legal contracts to achieve their social benefit goals.

The paper finds that impact investing contracts reinforce a commitment to impact through agreements and decision-making rules that allow investors to make sure funds are working toward impact goals.

These findings offer evidence that impact investors are not just making empty gestures about making the word a better place; their contracts show that these investors take impact seriously. This research is based on data from the Impact Finance Database (formerly WIRED), a comprehensive repository of information on impact investing funds developed by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative in collaboration with the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and the Social Impact Collaboratory at Harvard Business School.

Translating research into actionable insights.