Video resources and links for free access articles for our new Special Issue, Social Impact Bonds and the Urban Transformation!

Articles from our current Special Issue, Social Impact Bonds and the Urban Transformation, are available for download now!


By Eve Chiapello, Lisa Knoll, & Mildred E. Warner

This special issue, “Social Impact Bonds and the Urban Transformation,” presents a set of articles that examine the tricky implementation process of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in diverse urban settings. SIBs are supposed to be an innovative financing tool for welfare states under fiscal pressure. They claim to provide savings for the public sector through particular welfare programs pre-financed by private investors, whose return on investment depends on the capacity of the programs to meet carefully assessed objectives. The special issue brings together actual research on these new financing tools in three U.S. states on early childcare (Tse & Warner), in two prisons in the U.S. and the UK (Ogman), on child-in-danger care in France (Riot), and in development politics (Alenda-Demoutiez). These empirical case studies show the complex implementation of an abstract concept into diverse urban contexts. They show how urban institutions change, but also how the SIB concept can be challenged on that level. Williams shows how a new professional field emerges around these new funding instruments. And Lilley, Harvie, Lightfoot, and Weir discuss the derivate logic enshrined into these tools. The special issue thus provides the interested reader with an overview on the transformative challenges of SIBs in the urban realm.

Table of Contents

1. The razor’s edge: Social impact bonds and the financialization of early childhood services, by Allison E. Tse & Mildred E. Warner

2. “Ethical capitalism” in the city: Embedded economy or marketization? The case of social impact bonds, by Robert Ogman

3. Betting on children at risk: Actors’ views on the introduction of social impact bonds in the French field of “childhood in danger”, by Elen Riot

4. A fictitious commodification of local development through development impact bonds?, by Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez

5. Surveying the SIB economy: Social impact bonds, “local” challenges, and shifting markets in urban social problems, by James W. Williams

6. Using derivative logic to speculate on the future of the social investment market, by Simon Lilley , David Harvie , Geoff Lightfoot & Kenneth Weir

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