Michigan has joined a small group of state and local governments in something of an experiment. The state is launching a program that will seek to attract private investors, whose money will address very public problems.
“Social impact bonds” are relatively new. First tried in England in 2010, Michigan just became the eighth state or municipal government to launch such an initiative in the U.S. Backers say the bonds privatize risk, socialize benefits and offer investors the chance to make a profit.