Policy experimentation with impact financing: a systematic review of research on social impact bonds
Social impact bonds (SIB) have become a novel and attractive policy tool to assist with service delivery to vulnerable groups. Since the first SIB in 2010 in the United Kingdom, hundreds of projects have been adopted, implemented, and continue to be developed around the world. A broad observation from current research concludes that there is a lack of consistent evidence on research foci and orientations with regard to this innovative policy tool. In the context of the Asia-Pacific region, research on SIBs is largely non-existent. Moreover, research from Asia-Pacific contexts is primarily focused on the (financial) product features of impact financing, at the expense of studying the process innovation aspect of SIBs in service delivery. This contrasts with research from European and North American SIBs, which exhibit a relatively heightened interest on issues in service delivery process and their impact on performance measurement, evidence auditing and evaluation, and accountability to service recipients versus investor returns. As policy experimentation continues with SIBs in the Asia-Pacific region, several key considerations remain vital and require future scholarly attention.
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