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Impact Investing

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We document that investors derive nonpecuniary utility from investing in dual-objective venture/growth equity funds, thus sacrificing financial returns. In reduced form, impact funds earn 4.7% lower IRRs compared to traditional VC funds. Likewise, random utility/willingness-to-pay (WTP) models of investment choice indicate investors accept 3.4% lower IRRs for impact funds. We rule out alternative interpretations of risk, liquidity, and naiveté. Development organizations, banks, public pensions, Europeans, and UNPRI signatories have high WTP ; endowments and private pensions have none. Mission-oriented objectives and local political pressure increase WTP ; legal restrictions (e.g., ERISA ) decrease WTP .

This talk is part of the Cambridge Finance Workshop Series series.

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