Keywords: Social Impact Finance; Public-Private Partnerships; Third Sector Organizations; Welfare; Social Innovation.
Based on two case studies embedded in very different territorial contexts - Trento and Naples - the essay discusses the innovative potential of Social Impact Bonds in the Italian context. The case studies are based on document analysis and in-depth interviews to key informants with a special emphasis on how new public-private partnerships were developed, and the role played within them by third sector organizations. This choice closely aligns with the international literature on the consequences of third sector marketization and the relevant implications for the welfare system as a whole. The evidence on the SIB's potential and limits shows that the political dimension of the partnerships envisaged by the Social Impact Bonds as well as their institutional design are extremely relevant, and represent key variables for ensuring a successful result.