Social Impact Bonds in São Paulo’s state public school system: New modality of public-private partnership in Brazil


  • Fernando L. Cássio Universidade Federal do ABC
  • Débora Cristina Goulart Universidade Federal de São Paulo
  • Salomão Barros Ximenes Universidade Federal do ABC



Social Impact Bond, Secondary Education, New Public Management, Democratic School Management, Privatization


This article analyzes the development of a new modality of public-private partnership in Brazilian education, the so-called Social Impact Bond (SIB), known in Brazil as “Contrato de Impacto Social”, whose pilot project, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is in its initial stage of implementation in the State of São Paulo. Unlike traditional philanthropy, which legitimizes itself in the alleged non-profit nature of its actions, SIB assumes the possibility of obtaining return rates with “social investments,” leading to the creation of a new ecosystem of social finances, which, into this context of privatization of education, incorporates agents interested in capitalizing on the provision of public services to vulnerable populations, in this case, to secondary students from public schools in the State of São Paulo. This kind of contract, or bond—paid by means of “delivery” of results—raises a series of ethical, legal, and political-pedagogical issues related to the accomplishment of “social experiments” with students in a vulnerable condition. From the analysis of internal documents of the Department of Education in the State of São Paulo, in comparison with documentary sources from public schools, we conclude that, from the very beginning of its implementation, the SIB of São Paulo education not only breaks with standards of scientific ethics, but also violates the principle of democratic school management included in the Brazilian constitution.


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Author Biographies

Fernando L. Cássio, Universidade Federal do ABC

Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Professor Adjunto

Débora Cristina Goulart, Universidade Federal de São Paulo

Doutora em Ciências Sociais pela Unesp-Marília. É professora da Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Unifesp, campus Guarulhos.

Salomão Barros Ximenes, Universidade Federal do ABC

Doutor em Direito do Estado pela Universidade de São Paulo (FD-USP). É professor do Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais Aplicadas da UFABC.



How to Cite

Cássio, F. L., Goulart, D. C., & Ximenes, S. B. (2018). Social Impact Bonds in São Paulo’s state public school system: New modality of public-private partnership in Brazil. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 130.



Políticas da Administração e Gestão em Países da Lusofonia