Lookup NU author(s): Dr Toby Lowe,
Dr Jonathan Kimmitt,
Professor Rob Wilson,
Professor Mike Martin,
Dr Jane Gibbon
This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Policy Press, 2019.
For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are a new and increasingly popular public policy tool which link payments to outcomes thus, in theory, transferring risk from governments to private investors. This paper draws on the concepts of institutional work and discursive institutionalism to analyse how a SIB influenced the rules, norms and decisions of key actors. It identifies two dominant discourses. One focused on addressing the social determinants of health, the other on creating the financial structure needed to run a SIB. These discourses were congruent at a macro-policy level, but tensions emerged between them at the meso and micro levels. This exemplifies the interdependence of structure and agency in institutional work and the mediating role which discourse plays. It also suggests that the effectiveness of a SIB depends not just on whether it achieves its outcome targets but also on whether it can institute new sets of practices and thinking.
Author(s): Lowe T, Kimmitt J, Wilson R, Martin M, Gibbon J
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Policy and Politics
Print publication date: 01/04/2019
Online publication date: 06/08/2018
Acceptance date: 10/07/2018
Date deposited: 11/07/2018
ISSN (print): 0305-5736
ISSN (electronic): 1470-8442
Publisher: Policy Press
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