Impact Investing: Framework and Future Research Avenues

Anirudh Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Impact investing research has not moved beyond the definitional conversation, basic frameworks and models, and terminology clarifications. This article reviews the present state of scholarship, presents a holistic framework of impact investing with contexts, operational details, relationships and outcomes. Based on this framework, the article presents a future research agenda.
Research Methodology: Using Harzing's Publish or Perish software, the study searched for articles and reports that explicitly mentioned 'impact investing'. Since the purpose of the literature review is to study the use of the term impact investing, its working and contexts, the search term used for selection was found in the title, topic/subject headings/subject terms, or abstracts of the articles.
Findings: The review found seventy-five relevant articles. Using the literature, the study developed a framework to understand impact investing. It is made up of four major building blocks: (a) Institutional environment and stakeholders, (b) Impact investors, (c) Investees, (d) Outcomes. Using the framework, the study proposes a research agenda.
Limitations: There are many limitations but primarily, the field is new and emerging, and it still does not have sufficient FT 50 publications. Contribution: The article develops propositions that clarify many ambiguities within the impact investing field. This research presents a broader and more generalised framework than previous frameworks to understand and practice impact investing. The article also suggests future research avenues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Business
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)293-317
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Due diligence
  • Framework
  • Impact investing
  • Research agenda
  • Social finance
  • Social impact bonds
  • SROI
  • Venture philanthropy

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