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An overview of evidence regarding the impact of impact bonds as innovative financing mechanisms for education in development contexts

Research paper

Authors: The Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Publication Date: 2019

Stage: General

Policy Areas: Education, Social impact bonds, Development Impact Bonds


This report provides a summary overview of the evidence regarding the impact of impact bonds (including Social Impact Bonds and Development Impact Bonds) in their application as innovative financing mechanisms for supporting education in development contexts. The report also looks at current approaches to the evaluation and data-gathering on impact bonds.

The paper concludes with the case that impact bonds remain a complex and time-intensive mechanism for contracting services, and decision-makers must ensure that contracting on outcomes and engaging private investors, are the right options for both the context and the social problems they are trying to solve. Particularly, evidence of impact, both in terms of technical and managerial design, will be key to informing the decision-making process.

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