Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Community Development

The Crisis’ Silver Lining: Impact Accounting Penetrates the Mainstream

Author(s):

December 2011

Community Development Investment Review

The banking crisis has laid bare something that is often hard to quantify: the social value from homeownership that accrues to people and their communities. The unaccounted-for facets of value to buyers that are inherent in goods have too often been stripped out of those goods by financial accounting that is blind to the human costs and benefits, and by capital markets that fail to recognize this value. Buyers are left with only a shell of the good at the original price (before the discovery that it is not so valuable after all, and the ensuing fall in price). As a result, buyers, investors, and the public are at risk.

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