2017 was an exciting year for social and development impact bonds around the globe, with 32 new contracts signed. This brings the total up to 108 contracted impact bonds globally, along with many more in design. This year also marked the contracting of the first social impact bond (SIB) in a low- or middle-income country, the Workforce Development SIB in Colombia, and a total of five development impact bonds (DIBs) have now been contracted, where the outcome funder is a third party, rather than a government entity.
While the market is expanding, there are key questions that remain: Can impact bonds be used at scale? Are they more effective than input-based based financing or than traditional payment-by-results? Do the actors in social service provision have the capacity to adapt to the demands of financing tied to results, and the rigorous focus on performance management that this is likely to entail? This review provides a snapshot of what we have seen this year, as well as where we see the field moving.
Of these 108 impact bonds, 102 are in high-income countries, and six are in low and middle-income countries. These impact bonds are spread across 25 countries, although more than a third (42) have been contracted in the U.K., the country that pioneered the impact bond model with the Peterborough SIB in 2010. The results were released this year, with reoffending of short-sentenced offenders down by 9 percent and the investors repaid in full. With 19 impact bonds already contracted, and more in design, the United States has also established themselves as a player in the field.
Read the full report on the global impact bond market in 2017 by Emily Gustafsson-Wright and Izzy Boggild-Jones at Brookings.
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