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A new way to pay for prevention

It’s a near truism in public policy (and life in general) that addressing a risk before it manifests itself is more cost-effective than fixing a problem after it emerges. Yet, most government spending is focused on reacting to problems rather than preventing them. A new approach to funding called pay for success (PFS) has emerged as a potential solution to this dilemma.
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How to change government thinking about performance

Adopting a performance management system doesn’t improve performance by default, as underscored in a research paper published earlier this month by Ed Gerrish of the University of South Dakota.Performance management is most effective when organizations stick to best practices in program implementation, identify rigorous outcomes, and make those outcomes the focus of the intervention. These principles may seem obvious, but the reality is that they rarely guide actual performance.
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Putting evidence first: Learning from the Rikers Island social impact bond

Results from the first generation of social impact bonds (also known as pay for success deals) are starting to come in. Last week, the field learned the results of the evaluation of the first social impact bond transaction in the United States.
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How government can (finally) start paying for success

Government doesn’t always work as well as it should, but there are solutions. Today we released new research on the five steps to implementing a pay for success (PFS) project. This is a new concept that can break through traditional barriers to government efficiency to help deliver social programs that produce a public good, government savings, and private profit.
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Introducing the Pay for Success Initiative at the Urban Institute

One of the great policy challenges of our time is how best to address vexing social issues with limited public resources. Years of research have helped us develop a rapidly evolving evidence base about what works to address challenges like healthy child development, juvenile delinquency, and homelessness, but we often lack the funding flexibility to scale proven interventions and build evidence for promising new programs.