Innovative ways to involve private investments to finance services of social interest

Scientific publications 

AlpSib in scientific journals

Matjaž Črnigoj et al. from the Institute for Economic Research prepared an article titled Social impact bonds. The article presents social impact bond model as an innovative way of financing interventions in the social field and analyses its potential use in Slovenia. The authors show how this kind of financing could complement the existing system of social policy measures provided by the state and also bring certain benefits to the existing policies. However, for a successful implementation of the model in practice, there is still a lot to do, as the state and social service providers have shown great disapproval of introducing private capital in social services financing, the authors identified also legal barriers and a lack of impact investors. They propose raising awareness and promotion to attract impact investors, as well as convincing the government that the model could help solving the todays pressing social problems. 

The article was accepted for publication in the Economic and Business Review and will be published in 2019. Economic and business review is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that aims to further the research and disseminate research results in the area of applied business and economic studies, including various fields of economic research, bank and financial management, business informatics, entrepreneurship, international business, management and marketing. Disseminating the results of the project through this channel, allow us to increase the awareness of innovative financing models of social services among the academics who can contribute with the necessary further research that will eventually better adopt the model to the need of the stakeholders.


AlpSib presentation at the Scientific conference and in the Abstract book of the conference

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, which hosted around 330 researchers from different countries. FHV’s presentation was done in one of the conference’s parallel sessions, it lasted 20 minutes and was followed by a discussion.

The main topic of Nina’s presentation were risks and benefits of SIBs, which was the primary topic of the AlpSib 1st co-lab held in Augsburg. The aim of the presentation was to provide insights into the analysis of the benefits and limitations SIBs face, but also to raise the awareness of SIBs in the scientific community.  

FHV’s presentation took place within the section ‘Contemporary Economic Theory’. The presentation started with an introduction of the researcher and the AlpSib project, through which the research was initiated and realized. 

Secondly, critical realism was introduced as the philosophy of science used as well as the methods used so far. A literature review was conducted in order to illustrate the current status-quo of knowledge and to gain a better understanding of the concept. How did it evolve? Which instruments exist? Who is involved? What are the motivations of the stakeholders involved? In a next step, SIBs were put in a broader context, namely social impact investing. The Global Impact Investing Network defined impact investing “as the provision of finance to organisations or companies or funds with the intention of a social or an environmental impact alongside a financial return”. Therefore, many different instruments exist that fall under this definition and SIBs are one of them.

Following, SIBs were presented, the structure, the stakeholders involved and their motivations and the obstacles that can be encountered during the contracting and setting-up of a SIB as well as the possible risks and opportunities SIBs may entail during the project phase, were elaborated.

The literature that exists on the SIBs topic differentiates between SIBs as implemented in the United Kingdom and SIBs as currently tested in the rest of Europe, in literature defined as Continental Europe. AlpSib project as part of the Alpine Space studies characteristics of SIBs as implemented within the Continental Europe, consequently this term was used to discuss SIBs by the presenter from FHV.

Since SIBs are partly presented as a win-win option for all stakeholders involved, the focus of the presentation lied on a critical assessment of SIBs. However, not only the risks encountered during the contracting and implementation phase of a SIB or the project phase were elaborated, but also the general implications social impact measurement could have, were discussed. In the end, it was illustrated what could enable a positive outcome of a SIB and how the instrument could be used as an additional instrument within the social welfare state.

In the end, conclusions were drawn about what would be needed to allow further testing of this instrument. The presentation was followed by an engaged discussion with the audience on the potential motivations of the different stakeholders and the risk of misuse of the instrument. 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.

After the conference the organisers of the conference published abstracts of all presented articles in the Abstract book, which was published on the conference webpage and is accessible to the interested public.

The Abstract book and the PPT presentation that was held in Belfast can be accessed also bellow. 

The Abstract book can be accessed here (pages 108-109): 

PPT presentation from the conference can be accessed here: