In 2015, the Harvard Kennedy School decided to support Pennsylvania in creating Pay for Success programs. If Pay for Success sounds like bribing a middle schooler to bring home good grades ($5 for an A, anyone?) it’s because both transactions aim to incentivize results. The former is just more involved than the latter.
Pay for Success contracts are a fairly new idea. The first U.S. program launched in New York in 2012. They're also known as social impact bonds. Whatever you call them, a Pay for Success contract is essentially a loan from the private sector to government in service of the public good. Pennsylvania identified five areas of focus: early childhood care and education; education, workforce preparedness, and employment; public safety; health and human services; and long-term living and home- and community-based services.
Keystone Crossroads is a statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.