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Impact Underperformance

What it looks like, and why it matters

Tackling global social and environmental problems is hard. Yet, seven years of survey data collected by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) show that impact investors report overwhelming success in their results. Since the first round of data collection in 2014, the proportion of impact investors reporting falling short of their impact expectations has hovered between only 1% and 3%. Given the known difficulty of measuring impact rigorously, how do we make sense of such confidence? To answer this and other questions, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative undertook the largest ever qualitative study of impact measurement in impact investing, interviewing…
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Maoz (Michael) Brown is Head of Research at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, where he directs research on impact investing and social enterprise. A focus of Michael’s research has been how impact investors measure, manage, and report their impact. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Lauren Kaufmann is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on social impact, impact investing, and business ethics. She holds a PhD from Wharton and a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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