Policy, fast and slow: Social impact bonds and the differential temporalities of mobile policy

Rebecca Grimwood, Tom Baker, Louise Humpage, Jacob Broom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Governments are increasingly intrigued by the possibility of harnessing the private ‘social investment’ market to finance the delivery of social services. One social investment initiative in particular – Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) – has spread extensively within the global North. This article investigates the transnational mobility of SIBs by exploring the adoption and implementation of SIBs in New Zealand. It considers SIBs as a case of ‘fast policy’, a concept that describes both the increasing rapidity of policymaking and the proliferation of ‘best practice’ policy models. Although the model was adopted relatively quickly in New Zealand, implementation spanned a number of years following various complications and setbacks, echoing experiences in other places. This article seeks to extend conceptions of policy mobility and fast policy by arguing for both fast and slow temporalities of policy movement, contending that while adoption of mobile policies tends to be rapid, implementation can follow a much more gradual pace as they mediate, and are mediated by, local political, institutional and ideological factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-140
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Social Policy
Issue number1
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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