Impact Investing Research Lab

The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School
The Impact Investing Research Lab seeks to advance academic research on impact investing. 

The world’s leading impact investing research database

In collaboration with Harvard Business School and Chicago Booth, Wharton formed the Impact Finance Research Consortium to advance academic research on impact investing through the creation of the Impact Finance Database (IFD). The first of its kind, the IFD includes not only financial data, but also data on impact measurement, legal governance, organizational climate, and other critical aspects of impact investing.

Featured Research

We drive innovative research on the practice of strategic impact investing to achieve both positive returns and real social impact.

When Gender Is Central

Drawing on survey data collected for Project Sage 4.0, this special report surfaces several important findings on gender lens investing.

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Great Expectations

This research evaluates the interplay of liquidity and mission preservation in impact investing using survey data from 53 impact investing private equity funds from around the world.

Glass Piggy Back

When Social Benefits Are in the Contract

This research examines how contracts can be structured differently when investors are trying to make money and make the world a better place.

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Four for Women

A summary of extensive academic research as well as a new framework to explore and assess what it is to be a good employer for women.

Can Investing in Public Equities Improve the Lives of Women?

This research on social impact investing with a gender lens explores the possibilities of using investment capital to positively impact gender equity.

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The Entrepreneurs Spurring Africa’s Rise

A special report featuring interviews with 18 fascinating entrepreneurs and executives who are spurring growth in unique and dynamic ways in Africa.

Innovative Finance: Mobilizing Capital for Maximum Impact

A look into new financial mechanisms and strategies for channeling revenue streams from a variety of sources toward development.

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Bringing Innovation Back to Innovative Finance

A summary of strategies to unleash capital, create economic returns, and achieve strategic social impact goals following a convening at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center.

Project Sage Reports

A global scan of gender lens private equity, venture capital, and private debt funds, and key findings on the current state of the field.

Faculty Leadership

Katherine Klein Esg

Katherine Klein

Edward H. Bowman Professor, Professor of Management
Faculty Director, Impact Investing Research Lab

A Brief History

Recognizing the emerging needs of its students and society at large, Wharton unified several research centers, each with an extensive history of expertise in environmental, social, and governance topics, to form the ESG Initiative on July 1, 2022. A leader in the field of impact investing, Wharton Social Impact Initiative became a part of the ESG Initiative, bringing its cutting-edge research, world-class experiential learning programs, and the Impact Investing Research Lab.

As we build the integrated ESG Initiative website, please refer to Wharton Social Impact Initiative’s website here »

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The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School