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Social Impact Investment

Building the Evidence Base

image of Social Impact Investment

Social impact investment can provide new ways to more efficiently and effectively allocate public and private capital to address social and economic challenges at the global, national and local levels. While these innovative market-based approaches will not replace the core role of the public sector or the need for philanthropy, they can provide a potentially powerful means for leveraging existing capital.



This report provides a framework for assessing the social impact investment market and focuses on the need to build the evidence base, in particular for impact assessment compared to existing social service delivery models. The report highlights the importance of further international collaboration in developing global standards on definitions, data collection, impact measurement and evaluation of policies as well as experience sharing between players in the market. International organisations can play an important role in facilitating these collaborations as well as conducting further analysis and data collection.

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Foreword and acknowledgements

New and innovative approaches are needed for addressing social and economic challenges. Social impact investment seeks to leverage innovation and apply measurement rigor to achieve social outcomes. This approach has become increasingly relevant in today’s economic setting as social challenges have mounted while public funds in many countries are under pressure. Interest in social impact investment has grown considerably across several OECD countries including the G7 and G20. The field of social impact investment is expanding rapidly with a growing number of players entering the market. At the same time, greater knowledge about social impact investment as well as evidence about market activity and outcomes achieved to date are needed. The OECD social impact investment initiative is therefore timely as it aims to inform OECD member countries as well as non-OECD economies about developments in this area and the potential role of policy.

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