In a global economy characterized by increasing mobility of individuals, capital, and investments, the role of philanthropy is expected to increase. In Sweden, the interest in philanthropy as a complement to public financing has received increasing attention over the last years. Philanthropic donations to public welfare goods are important both from a financial perspective, i e, the donations quantitatively increase the funding for publicly financed goods, and from a more qualitative perspective, as these donations generate diversity in the solutions to social challenges that public funding rarely does. Both the qualitative and the quantitative aspects are important in the discussion of philanthropy.
The overall aim of this research project is to study the effects of philanthropy on diversity and economic development from a Swedish perspective. The research program aims to assess the structure of the Swedish philanthropic sector, identify potential constraints and consequences for the economic development and determine what we could learn from the Anglo-Saxon example.
Specifically, the project addresses the following research questions:
- The theoretical arguments for philanthropy as an important factor for innovation, entrepreneurship, economic development, and societal change in a market economy with a strong welfare sector, as is the case for Sweden.
- An empirical overview of the Swedish philanthropic sector: the significance of philanthropic donations in the Swedish economy, their share of the gross domestic product (GDP), the aim of philanthropic donations, and when possible the evolution of these numbers over time.
- Governance of foundations and the effect on dividend policies. That is, how much is donated yearly to different purposes such as scientific research and education, culture, charity, and other types of social welfare project.
- Policy implications of the theoretical discussion and empirical findings, in particular for tax policy and the regulative environment based on the research findings.
The project is a three-year research project. The overall aim is to generate peer-reviewed scientific knowledge intended for publication in international highly ranked scientific journals. A second goal is to communicate the research findings to important stakeholders outside academia, such as policy-makers and practitioners. A PhD student will be recruited to the research program.