Really Interesting Stuff

I know I know, that’s the least illustrative blog title ever.  But here are a few things that I’ve found interesting lately, that you might find interesting as well:

1) Matt Yglesias parses the difference between public provision of services and the public management of services.  Important vis-a-vis conversations about “privatization” in education, which is a topic that I find often lacks descriptive content.

2) Rob Manwaring at Education Sector looks at the impact of teacher layoffs on chronically under-performing schools.  This challenge represents the confluence of two of the most important issues in education and is worth spending some serious time considering.

3) Ta-Nehisi Coates has an interesting perspective on the DC mayor’s race.  Contrasted with folks who are deeply embedded in the constant “reform” debates, Coates’s take is a step removed and brings different insight.

4) Andrew Sullivan looks at the potential for “social impact bonds” in the UK.  Rick Hess was just talking about turnaround bonds last week!

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One Response to Really Interesting Stuff

  1. Tony says:

    Regarding #4, innovative contracting mechanisms like this are a very exciting area for exploration. It’s important to note that the UK’s social impact bonds and Hess’ proposed turnaround bonds have very different underlying logics. The turnaround bonds described by Hess would increase the cost of failure to an external provider. The social impact bonds, in contrast, increase the return on success. One of the goals of the social impact bonds is to attract new investment to successful interventions, by sharing the public savings that result from a successful intervention between the government and outside investors. Whether they will succeed in doing so remains unproven, but Hess’ bonds almost certainly would not attract new investment, and might well deter it. Both are unproven but certainly deserving of more attention. I would argue, however, that social impact bonds fall under the risk/reward paradigm of corporate finance, whereas turnaround bonds are a slightly modified form of public contracting. This assertion is certainly subject to debate, though!

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