Why Is PBE For Me?

The argument for economists helping charities was best put by Andy Haldane, one of our founding trustees: “There have been quite a few sheds painted and river beds cleared by economists over the past few years – mostly badly, I’d imagine – in an attempt to demonstrate our social usefulness. But as economists, we should know that is a fairly rubbish allocation of resources. We’d be much better off lending a hand with a spreadsheet than a paintbrush.” We don’t think economists are less altruistic than anybody else, and we have been thrilled by the response we have had from the profession. We assume that if you have got this far you are interested in ‘demonstrating your social usefulness’. But aside from giving something back there are other good reasons why you should volunteer.


  • It gives you the opportunity to improve your skills and develop new ones. These may be technical, methodological skills, or more general skills such as project management and client management.
  • It may take you closer to service delivery than your day-to-day job does, seeing how interventions help beneficiaries and how policy decisions affect front line services.
  • You may work with different experts, both in and outside of the economics profession.
  • You can demonstrate that economics has a role to play in the wider world, and help charities understand its value.


  • If you have economists in your organisation and would like to be a partner of ours, putting teams onto projects, there are other benefits.
  • Volunteering may fit in with the CSR activities of your organisation.
  • Volunteering can be, as one volunteer put it, ‘cheap training’ for your staff members.
  • Volunteering can be good for morale, team cohesion and staff retention.
  • Skills developed and experience in new sectors can be valuable for future work.

Don’t take our word for it; read the feedback from previous volunteers.