Pro Bono Economics

Pro Bono Economics uses analysis and insight drawn from the social sector to help charities, funders, firms and government to collectively tackle the causes and consequences of low personal wellbeing. Our vision is an end to low personal wellbeing in the United Kingdom

Experts and economists at PBE work on a wide range of issues related to wellbeing, including mental health, education, employment, poverty, volunteering and civil society. The charity was founded in 2009 by Andy Haldane, former Chief Economist of the Bank of England, and economist Martin Brookes. PBE is chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell.

The services PBE provides to small-to-mid-sized charities help them measure, understand and better articulate their impact, influence and inform policy and make best use of their data. Volunteer economists from across government, regulators and the private sector work in partnership with PBE to provide these services to charities on a pro bono basis. Many of our reports are the result of expert advise and analysis PBE has provided for charities.


Latest reports

Triple dividend

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at how workplace volunteering can make us happier, healthier and more productive. Employers are struggling to find solutions to boost both their employees’ wellbeing and their productivity, as the UK economy fights to pull itself out of the doldrums. Growth is sluggish at best, and...

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Investing in trusted relationships

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the economic value of 'Football Beyond Borders' impact on children's wellbeing. PBE research for Football Beyond Borders uses exciting new ways of measuring impact to evaluate the difference a trusted adult can make to the wellbeing of children at greatest risk of exclusion. Children’s...

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The economic benefits of ADIE treatment for autistic people with anxiety

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics explores economic benefits of ADIE treatment for autistic people with anxiety. A new treatment could be effective in helping autistic people recover from GAD. ‘Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience’ (ADIE) was recently trialled in a study funded by MQ Mental Health Research. The treatment takes a...

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A pro bono bonus

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the impact of volunteering on wages and productivity. Charities play a vital role in the effective functioning of society, often supporting the most vulnerable groups, including the youngest, the oldest and those with physical and mental health needs. In supporting these groups, charities rely...

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Tethered fortunes

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the threat to charities from trouble in local government. Across England, local government funding is in disarray. Councils are issuing section 114 notices – indicating unlawful expenditure or their equivalent of bankruptcy – at unprecedented rates. Cuts are following rapidly, with even more looming...

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Early literacy matters: Economic impact and regional disparities in England

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the economic impact and regional disparities in England of early literacy matters. The early years are the most critical time for the development of a child’s abilities to master language, to read and to communicate. However, with early years settings under pressure and families...

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The economic benefits of LENS treatment for people with anxiety

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics shows the economic benefits of LENS treatment for people with anxiety. Anxiety disorders affect large parts of the population and their impact can be debilitating. Most people experience some symptoms of anxiety in response to stress or danger; however, anxiety becomes a problem when it is...

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Mission purposeful

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics explores what a relationship reset between government and the charity sector might look like under a future Labour government. This work was made possible by a grant from the Charities Aid Foundation. Charities drive the nation’s sense of purpose. The hundreds of thousands of charities, community...

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Opening opportunities

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at improving employment prospects for autistic people. In every sector of the UK economy, there are skills shortages and an ongoing battle for talent. Yet there is a pool of talent, willing to work, which often goes untapped. Only three in 10 autistic people are...

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Ragged patchwork

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the need to overcome the philanthropy knowledge gulf. There is a philanthropy knowledge gulf in the UK’s financial sector, which is preventing financial advisers from engaging their clients on philanthropy. PBE sets out five steps to overcome this gap.

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The neverending story?

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at two of the major challenges weighing heavily on the UK. PBE’s pre-Autumn Statement briefing exploring two of the major challenges weighing heavily on the UK and the vital role the nation’s charities can play in meeting them, ahead of the Chancellor's announcement. The briefing...

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Women and the charity sector

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at the significant contribution of women to the UK charity sector. New research by PBE shines a light on the significant contribution of women to the UK charity sector and examines the under-discussed gender imbalance that holds the sector back. PBE estimates women in the...

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A tale of two sectors

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics looks at volunteer wellbeing and the effects of the cost of living crisis. The Q4 2023 VCSE Sector Barometer focuses in on volunteer wellbeing, looking at the effects of the cost of living crisis on staff and volunteers, and the ways charities are supporting staff.

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