Social Investment

Social Investment

A New Zealand Policy Experiment

The idea of social investment has obvious intuitive appeal. But is it robust? Is it built on sound philosophical principles and secure analytical foundations? Will it deliver better outcomes?

For almost a decade, the idea of social investment has been a major focus of New Zealand policy-making and policy debate. The broad aim has been to address serious social problems and improve long-term fiscal outcomes by drawing on big data and deploying various analytical techniques to enable more evidence-informed policy interventions. 

But recent approaches to social investment have been controversial. In late 2017, the new Labour-New Zealand First government announced a review of the previous government's policies. As ideas about social investment evolve, this book brings together leading academics, commentators and policy analysts from the public and private sectors to answer three big questions:

  • How should social investment be defined and conceptualized?
  • How should it be put into practice?
  • In what policy domains can it be most productively applied?

As governments in New Zealand and abroad continue to explore how best to tackle major social problems, this book is essential for people seeking to understand social policy in the twenty-first century.

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Peter Alsop; Ben Apted; Jonathan Boston; Holly Briffa; Simon Chapple; Alex Collie; Isabelle Collins; Steffan Crausaz; Jo Cribb; Sir Michael Cullen; Killian Destremau; Elizabeth Eppel; Diane Garrett; Derek Gill; David Hanna; Gary Hawke; Sarah Hogan; Tim Hughes; Girol Karacaoglu; Gail Kelly; Michael Mintrom; Graham Scott; Verna Smith; Simon Wakeman; Peter Wilson; Amanda Wolf; John Yeabsley; and Warren Young.

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Dec 2017
Pages: 448
RRP: $69.99
ISBN: 9781988533582
DOI: 10.7810/9781988533582

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Simon Chapple, 'Under and over the benefit in NZ', Newsroom, 14 February 2018.

'Thomas Coughlan, 'What becomes of Social Investment?', Newsroom, 5 February 2018.



'Overall, the volume thoroughly surveys what has fallen under the rubric of social investment, and its contributors raise valid questions concerning the value of data, the political constraints of the agenda and its limitations.'
Alessandra De Marco, Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies, Volume 8, Number 1, May 2020.