Skip to main content

Young offenders institution in the UK Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images

Social Impact Investment Just Paid Off

Big ideas are few and far between, and social progress usually occurs incrementally, bit by bit. But sometimes a big idea – even one that starts modestly – can thoroughly transform our view of what is possible.

LONDON – Big ideas are few and far between. Progress usually occurs incrementally, bit by bit. But sometimes a big idea – even one that starts modestly – can thoroughly transform our view of what is possible.

Last week, a small social experiment conceived ten years ago to help 2,000 young delinquents in Peterborough, in eastern England, paid off – literally. More important, the Peterborough experiment has become the guiding light for hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in social reform.

During the last Labour government, I worked with one of Britain’s greatest entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Sir Ronald Cohen, to create what became the world’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB). Concerned about the rate of youth reoffending, Sir Ronald and his colleagues persuaded a group of investors to back an innovative program of personal mentoring and support, individually tailored to young people leaving their cells.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/rF3j5CD;
  1. sinn88_Sean GallupGetty Images_mario draghi ecb Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    The ECB’s Beggar-thy-Trump Strategy

    Hans-Werner Sinn

    The European Central Bank's decision to cut interest rates still further and launch another round of quantitative easing raises serious concerns about its internal decision-making process. The ECB is pursuing an exchange-rate policy in all but name, thus putting Europe on a collision course with the Trump administration.

    1

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions