19 October 2017

Is it time to rethink philanthropy?

Today, an unparalleled amount of philanthropic resources is being applied to improve the state of the world. On 12 October, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and academic and development experts participated in Rethinking Philanthropy, an event organised by the Graduate Institute, Le Temps and Le Monde Afrique to debate the main innovations, successes, challenges and limits of “philanthrocapitalism”, focusing on its impact on developing countries.

The event coincided with the release of A Note on the Economics of Philanthropy, a working paper from Graduate Institute professor Ugo Panizza and PhD student Nathalie Monnet which provides estimates of philanthropic giving in advanced and middle-income economies and discusses how innovative financial instruments can leverage charitable giving.

“Critics from the left and the right question the rationale for subsidizing charitable giving and worry about the political power of large foundations”, say Ugo Panizza and Nathalie Monnet. “The issue is that we do not know enough. We do not have good models to evaluate the social efficiency of philanthropic activities. More and better data are necessary for evaluating and improving philanthropy. Many foundations ask for independent evaluations of the activities of their grantees, and donors have tools for evaluating the financial efficiency of charities. However, taxpayers do not have tools for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the charity sector. More research is needed.”

Below, you can watch the panel discussion chaired by Ugo Panizza, The business of giving: can philanthro-capitalism and impact investing seriously make a difference?