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L-PEG Research Seminar

Normative and constructive views of legitimacy in the financial governance of sustainability: the case of impact investing

Friday 21 May 2021
Online (link sent to registered participants)


For-profit financial investments aiming at positive social and environmental impact have received a mixed reception from scholars of critical political economy and organization studies. In this review article, I aim to discharge of these frictions by conceptualizing such impact investments as a mode of governance that is applied to three different objects: markets for goods and services, welfare states, and international development. In order to gain a more nuanced view of its normative implications, I apply the perspective of input, throughput and output legitimacy from political science. Comparing the legitimacy of impact investing with extant forms of governance in financialized markets, Western welfare states and international development, I point to the advantages and shortcomings of impact investing governance in these respective fields. Besides addressing this normative question, I argue that such a perspective is also helpful for constructivist perspectives by allowing to uncover how the entrenchment of impact investing alters the sources of organizational legitimacy.

Registration: Please register in advance at l-peg@hum.leidenuniv.nl to receive a copy of the paper.

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