The University of Applied Sciences in Vorarlberg (FHV) submitted an abstract about Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) to the conference Work, Employment and Society (WES 2018), which took place between the 12th and 14th of September 2018 in Belfast. The conference was organized by the WES conference committee together with the British Sociological Association. The thematic focus of the conference was 'Putting Sociology to Work: Interdisciplinarity, intersectionality and imagination'.

The abstract was one of the selected presentations, which were chosen out of 350 abstracts submitted. It was presented on the third day of the conference.

The AlpSib project deals with SIBs in relation to the challenges seniors and NEETs face. Taking this into account, the project itself has a very strong sociological note and the financial instrument itself could offer possibilities for tackling social issues. Consequently, the SIB thematic was seen very suitable for a presentation at the conference.

FHV presentation took place within the section ‘Contemporary Economic Theory’ and the current research status was discussed. Critical realism as the philosophy of science on which the research is grounded was presented as well as the methods used so far. SIBs were put in a broader context, namely social impact investing, and in a next step, Social Impact Bonds were presented; its structure, the obstacles that can be encountered during the setting-up of a SIB as well as the possible risks and opportunities SIBs may entail were elaborated. An engaged discussion on the potential motivations of the different stakeholders and the risk of misuse of the instrument followed. It was concluded that SIBs could be an attractive instrument complementing state intervention. However, only if the instrument is carefully implemented and possible misuse is prevented.

More information on the Work, Employment and Society Conference can be found here:

https://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/key-bsa-events/work-employment-society-conference-2018/.

A short abstract of the presentation is published here (pages 108-109):

https://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/24779/wes18_abstract_book.pdf.