In the wake of austerity: social impact bonds and the financialisation of the welfare state in Britain

Article


Dowling, E. 2017. In the wake of austerity: social impact bonds and the financialisation of the welfare state in Britain. New Political Economy. 22 (3), pp. 294-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2017.1232709
TypeArticle
TitleIn the wake of austerity: social impact bonds and the financialisation of the welfare state in Britain
AuthorsDowling, E.
Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of the financialisation of the British welfare state. In a continuation of neo-liberal privatisation and labour market activation, the financialised welfare state pursues a policy of welfare retrenchment, while engaging in forms of social engineering aimed at producing self-responsibilised individuals and communities who are financially literate, ‘investment-ready’ and economically productive. New financial instruments such as social impact bonds are deployed to these ends, both to ‘solve social problems’ and enable cost saving. Through the use of such financial instruments, the implementation of regulatory infrastructures and tax incentives, the financialised welfare state becomes a vehicle for the transfer of wealth from the public to private investors, while subjecting the domain of social policy to the vicissitudes of global financial markets. This paper offers a critique of these developments, situating the case of Britain within the broader global context and with regard to the implications for understanding the current political economy of the welfare state.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherRoutledge
JournalNew Political Economy
ISSN1356-3467
Electronic1469-9923
Publication dates
Online29 Sep 2016
Print04 May 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Sep 2016
Accepted01 Sep 2016
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Political Economy on 29/09/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13563467.2017.1232709

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2017.1232709
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