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Austerity in the making: reconfiguring social policy through social impact bonds

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Social impact bonds (SIBs) are spreading worldwide in the absence of public debate and proof that they improve social outcomes, despite claims to advance evidence-based policymaking and transparency in government. A critical policy reading of SIBs elucidates this conundrum. We argue that SIBs are part of a neoliberal political project that uses austerity as an economic and moral symbol to manufacture consent for social service reform. The intent of this research provocation is to identify future avenues for empirical research on SIBs to further assess how the tool reconfigures social policy in a profoundly neoliberal direction.
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Keywords: austerity; philanthrocapitalism; social impact bonds; social service reform

Affiliations: 1: Concordia University, Canada 2: Ryerson University, Canada

Appeared or available online: 09 March 2018

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