Pay for Success in Obama’s 2013 Budget

Straight out of the White House 2013 Budget:

Pay for Success in Domestic Programs. Many traditional Government social programs fit one of two molds: prescriptive programs that stifle innovation by specifying eligible providers and activities, or flexible block grants that fail to focus on results. To ensure taxpayers get the best possible return on their investment, the Administration is testing a new program model—Pay for Success—in which the Government provides flexibility for how services are delivered and pays for results after they are achieved. The working capital for a Pay for Success project generally comes from private investors that bear the risk of failure, but receive a financial return if the project succeeds. Projects use and build evidence-based practices to improve the lives of vulnerable target populations, reducing their need for future Government services and cash assistance. Over the course of 2012, the Administration is launching a small number of Pay for Success pilots in criminal justice and workforce development. The President’s 2013 Budget reserves a total of up to $109 million to test this new financing mechanism in a broader range of areas including education and homelessness. If successful, Pay for Success projects offer a cost-effective way to replicate effective practices and support continuing innovation as Federal resources become more constrained.

White House, The Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, “Cutting waste, reducing the deficit, and asking all to pay their fare share,” page 45,

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