Widening perspectives on social impact bonds

Stefanie Tan*, Alec Fraser, Neil McHugh, Mildred Warner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are a novel financing mechanism for public services delivery. This special issue about SIBs in the UK argues that they necessitate closer examination to understand the implications for all stakeholders. This introductory paper critically explores and challenges dominant practitioner narratives of SIBs as “win-win” solutions for governments and service providers. While SIBs may foster innovation it is unclear if they deliver better value given the complexity of public services. SIBs are a strategically ambiguous policy tool and policymakers should be cautious about SIBs due to contractual complexity and issues with ethics, governance, accountability and transparency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Economic Policy Reform
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • pay for success
  • payment by results
  • performance pay
  • Social impact bonds


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