Identifying Education Outcomes for Social Impact Bonds for Early Childhood

Published Thursday, April 23, 2015 | by Emily Gustafsson-Wright, Megan Golden, Sam Aigner-Treworgy

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Brookings weighs in on what outcomes are meaningful, measurable, and responsive within a reasonable time frame for Pay for Success projects related to early childhood development (thus far, Utah and Chicago deals). Meaningful outcomes should be “empirically predictive” of the development of a child and should be tied to different points in the long timeline of potential benefits of such projects. Metrics should be measurable, both through the building of data collection mechanisms as part of the deals and through ongoing, broader data collection efforts that make data available to evaluators and service providers. Metrics should also span the time frame of potential outcomes, from short-term ones that communicate returns on investment to long-term ones that uncover yet-unknown value created by the interventions.