Public Administration and the Impact Economy

Written by Yvonne Fischer

Have you ever heard of social capital markets? These markets are responsible for influencing people and public policy. In addition, these capital markets are quickly becoming part of the social innovation movement, which has led to much progress through the development of new programs that benefit all involved and improve society.

The result of many parties (particularly private and public investors, philanthropists, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs and local and national government agencies) investing in social capital markets is what is known as the impact economy. In short, it is the economic Petri dish where impact investing and proper economic conditions lead to economic growth and job creation.

Although the social capital marketplace used to be monopolized by private entrepreneurs and philanthropists, that trend is shifting as the economic need for more government and public sector involvement increases. According to the resource Public Administration, officials in said field in countries like the U.S. are now increasingly presented with the unique opportunity to influence public policy that will directly affect the social capital marketplace and America’s growing impact economy.

Public administrators have an opportunity to affect change in these markets in three ways:

  1. Development of and participation in social impact markets;
  2. Through creative public policy that affects how the markets are run and regulated;
  3. Working in federal positions and creating innovation in the government.

Due to the need for more jobs in America, President Obama, philanthropists, government offices and public organizations have been attempting to foster growth of the impact economy. Recent additions of investment into the social capital market have included the Social Innovation Fund, the Department of Education’s Investing in Education Fund, and other fundraising and philanthropic endeavors from the private and non-profit sectors.

These movements within the public sector, the private sector, and beyond have all fostered tremendous potential for growth of the impact economy in America. However, there is often a need for those working within government to come up with new ideas and innovations. Too frequently are the same mistakes are repeated in government. Tradition trend to be the norm for various reasons, and this includes both at a local and national government level.

When change is difficult or politically uncomfortable, it can be especially intimidating for that change to take place. However, because of the economic climate currently, the federal and state governments will need creative and innovative people to lead, inspire, and continue to push the boundaries and limitations of tradition. Additionally these professionals will need to be on the cutting edge of advancement, and to drive the impact economy into the social markets that can offer the best returns.

One illustrative example of why innovation in the impact economy is effective is the Mayor’s Fund from New York City. It not only encourages a mix of the private and public sector, business people and entrepreneurs, but also encourages public participation and fosters positive outcomes for the residents of NYC, and has been shown to make a measurable impact.

It is important for the country and the world that social innovation continues to thrive. It is crucial that people become aware of the impact that the public sector can have, and the difference they can make by investing in social programs and the social capital marketplace. There has never been a better time than now for social progress to occur, and current and future public administrators have a wonderful opportunity to be a part of that growth through their participation in impact markets, their direct relation to public policy making and their influences in their local and national governments.



About Yvonne Fischer
Yvonne is a researcher and writer for the Public Administration team. She believes that the public sector is an untapped silo of creativity and innovation. It is her goal to educate and present to others the diverse impact of today’s socially-conscious public administrators.

Public Administration and the Impact Economy

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