Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Social Impact Bonds: Promises and Pitfalls - Expert Seminar


 Expert seminar with the financial support of the European Commission

15 April 2015, Paris, France

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Against the backdrop of constrained public finances and the increased need of delivering welfare services, the idea of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) was launched in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2010. SIBs are currently being developed in a number of countries, including developing ones in the form of Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), and in a number of areas, such as health and education, recidivism, employment and many others.

This expert seminar aimed at getting a better understanding of the features, limitations and preliminary findings from the use of SIBs, and to a lesser extent, of DIBs in developing countries from a multidimensional and multi-stakeholder perspective. The structure of SIBs was presented through the in-depth analysis of a case study while other examples, including how DIBs have been developed building on the features of SIBs, were discussed during the day. The key question of such tools’ impact on the financing of the social sector was addressed and debated. This seminar was organised by the OECD (Local Economic and Employment Development (OECD LEED) Programme of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development (CFE) in collaboration with the Development Centre and its Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) with the financial support of the European Commission (EC) in the framework of the “Tackling disadvantage at a time of limited resources” project.


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The 1 day expert seminar:


Assessed the state of play of SIBs and DIBs in OECD Member-States and in developing countries


Explored in-depth the SIBs mechanism


Discussed whether these mechanisms will considerably change the financing of social sector

Lively discussions on each of these topics were kicked off by presentations from experts, policymakers, and practitioners. Dynamic workshops in smaller groups also took place during the seminar. Active participation from all participants fostered mutually beneficial discussions.


The seminar brought together social economy and social entrepreneurship experts, funders, policy makers, practitioners, and members of the OECD Secretariat that have demonstrated expertise in the field of SIBs.




No participation fee required. Participants covered their own travel and accommodation.




Centre d’affaires Paris Trocadéro, 112 Avenue Kleber 75116, Paris, France.

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For further information on the seminar, please contact the OECD Secretariat at the OECD LEED Programme, Paris, France.

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