I am a Professor in Philanthropy and Sustainable Finance

"My passion is to understand what motivates people to give to charities and to invest not only for financial return but also for social return. In my free time, I enjoy playing improvisation theatre and playing the piano.”

My research particularly focuses on understanding what motivates millionaires to give to charity, how the rich think about income redistribution and how money increases happiness. Also, I focus on how to maximize positive societal impact of donations and investments.

I published in journals like The Journal of Finance, The Review of Financial Studies, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Contact me for public speaking opportunities. I have previously been an invited speaker at ABN AMRO Bank, Deutsche Bank (Frankfurt), Rabobank, Robeco, the OECD (Paris), the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Authority Financial Markets (AFM) and the Central Planning Bureau (CPB).

Get the latest updates on The Impact of Giving via my YouTube Channel

My work appeared in The New York Timesthe Atlantic, Forbes, the GuardianBBC NewsSüddeutsche Zeitungde Telegraaf, de Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, RLT Z, Radio 1, BNR Nieuwsradio, Q Music and Slam FM! 

I will be joining the University of Amsterdam as Professor of Sustainable Finance as of September 1, 2022.

Previously I visited the University of California San Diego, the University of California Los Angeles and the Toulouse School of Economics.

Paul Smeets

The Altruism of the Rich and the Poor

Paul Smeets blog

Altruistic behavior is a fascinating topic. On the first hand, it’s something of an evolutionary puzzle as to why an organism would provide benefits to others at an expense to itself. By...
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Donors Likely to Give Less if They Stand to Benefit

Paul Smeets blog

Socially responsible investing allows people to earn a financial return while doing good. But the promise of receiving a personal benefit from a charitable act may actually lower the amount wealthy...
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NWO Veni grant on the motivations of sustainable investors

Paul Smeets blog

Paul Smeets has been awarded a research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The Veni grants are for outstanding researchers who have recently earned their PhD, are...
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