Quotation Maier, Florentine, Barbetta, Gian Paolo, Godina, Franka. 2018. Paradoxes of Social Impact Bonds. Social Policy and Administration. 52 (7), 1332-1353.




Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) have alternatively been portrayed as a promising tool to improve the functioning of welfare systems, or as an instrument of neoliberalism that threatens to undermine them. Recently, a more nuanced understanding of the promises as well as pitfalls of SIBs has developed, as both practical experiences and published empirical evidence about implemented SIBs have increased in number. We aim to contribute to the development of such an understanding by means of a combination of qualitative and quantitative text analysis. In doing so, we analyse a comprehensive sample of 51 practitioner reports on SIBs. We identify two key paradoxes of SIBs. These paradoxes centre on statements that cannot both hold true for the very same SIB: (1) flexible but evidence-based services and (2) cost-saving risk transfer to private investors. We conclude by discussing how those paradoxes have been resolved in existing SIBs so far, which strategies of de-paradoxification may turn out paramount in future, and how positive aspects of SIBs can be preserved while defusing their more problematic ones.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Social Policy and Administration
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Paradoxes of Social Impact Bonds
Volume 52
Number 7
Year 2018
Page from 1332
Page to 1353
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/spol.12343
Open Access N


Maier, Florentine (Details)
Barbetta, Gian Paolo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy)
Godina, Franka (Contrast Management Consulting, Austria)
Institute for Nonprofit Management IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5323 Econometrics (Details)
5324 Organizational research (Details)
5363 Non-profit-sector research (NPO, NPI) (Details)
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