Launching the Investment for Impact Research Prize

The Center for Responsible Business at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business has just launched a $5,000 research prize for work on the role of impact investment aimed at improving society or the environment.

The goal of the prize, sponsored in part by Allan Spivack (Haas MBA 1980), is to both spur and reward rigorous new research on the ever-widening array of investing vehicles designed to generate social impact.

Potential questions to be examined might include:

*Should notions of returns to investment be broadened to incorporate the economic benefits of increased community health, local job formation, sustainable farming, reduced carbon emissions or responsible supply chains?

*If so, what metrics best capture such economic benefits and who should be the stakeholders considered in measurement?

*How comparatively effective – in generating both narrow private returns to  shareholders and  broader public returns to  other stakeholders – are investments in impact equity, impact bonds, corporate social responsibility programs, “B” corporations, venture philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship?

*Are there new opportunities for combining different forms of capital – such as venture philanthropy and for-profit investing – to jump start a market for, say, low-cost malaria vaccines?

Potential topic areas include (but are not limited to):

*Impact Investing

*Social Impact Bonds and Green Bonds

*Venture philanthropy

*Crowd-funding and venture capital for social enterprises

*Microfinance, subsidized lending and community re-investment programs

*Social entrepreneurship and B-Corporations

*Sustainable finance for assets in agriculture and timber


“The big picture is that we have learned to think more broadly about economic returns, as well as about different kinds of capital and the values that each form seeks,” said Adair Morse, Associate Professor of Finance at Haas and Co-Director of the Prize alongside Ayako Yasuda of UC Davis .


“Capital can come from businesses, philanthropies, governments, and institutional investors,” Morse added.  “ It can also come in the form of human capital.   One exciting innovation is in studying how these different sources of capital can interact and work together.”


The deadline for submitting papers is 11:59 PM Pacific time on April 3, 2017.  A distinguished panel of judges will select the winning paper in late June 2017 and publicly award the prize in September.


The competition is open to studies from all disciplines tied to business, economics, law, public policy, or other social sciences. Unpublished working papers suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals are eligible, as well as papers published in peer-reviewed journals in or after 2016.


The academic panel of judges is comprised of:


Adair Morse, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Ayako Yasuda, UC Davis

Bhagwan Chowdhry, UCLA

Thomas Hellman, University of Oxford

Paige Ouimet, University of North Carolina

Paul Brest, Stanford Law School/Stanford Business School

Laura Tyson, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business


The distinguished panel of industry advisors includes:


Paula Goldman, Omidyar Network

Ben Mangan, Haas School of Business

Rehana Nathoo, Case Foundation

Andi Phillips, Maycomb Capital


For complete information on the competition, click here.

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