Distributed Global Financial Systems for Society

Following the 2007-2009 financial crisis, developed economies around the world have set about exploring fairer and more stable approaches to global finance. Within this context, the EU-funded DOLFINS (Distributed Global Financial Systems for Society) project addresses the global challenge of making the financial system better serve society. It does so by placing scientific evidence and citizens’ participation at the centre of the policy process concerning finance. DOLFINS focuses on two crucial and interconnected policy areas that will shape the public debate in the coming 5 years: how to achieve financial stability and how to facilitate the long-term investments required by the transition to a more sustainable, more innovative, less unequal and greener EU economy.

Our Added Value

  • Identify, collect and analyse information and data to build a database of key players in the social finance market (including advocacy organisations, impact investors, social and ethical banks, family offices, foundations, institutional and long-term investors as well as “traditional” philanthropists and banks with an interest into the social and environmental consequences of financial decisions and policies addressing the financial markets.
  • Identify and document best practices in the social finance domain, in terms of concrete projects, policy, and regulation.
  • Organize multidisciplinary workshops about the influence of the financial industry versus citizens’ influence on policies with small groups of stakeholders and external experts aiming to: (a) Understand how citizens and the financial industry can influence policies and; (b) Explore and develop products/services for greater financial access.
  • Pilot and document innovative projects/partnerships in the social finance domain.


PlusValue outcomes include:

  • Social Impact Investing Exchange (27th January 2016, London), bringing together key stakeholders in social finance from public and private sectors, including WHEB Group, Barclays (Wealth and Investment Management), University College London (UCL, QASER), Johnson & Johnson (Corporate Citizenship Trust), and Rockefeller
  • Network mapping of key social finance players from across Europe and the United States.
  • Policy brief on the “hottest topics” in impact investment, with a focus on mapping and understanding the main issues for social finance players across Europe.
  • Event on changes in impact investing in the UK and Europe following the Brexit referendum, engaging 50 players in the field in a round table discussion on hot topics. Full report on the event available here with technical summary of poll experiment here. Article on the event published here.
  • Publication of “From good to growth: promoting social investment and public good to stimulate the European economy”. F. Lipparini, S. Phillips, F. Addarii and Indy Johar; in Paolo Garonna, Edoardo Reviglio (Ed.), Investing in Long Term Europe: relaunching fixed, network and social infrastructure, Rome: Luiss University Press, 2015, p. 267. Available online here.
  • Publication of “Impact Investing Market on Twitter: Influential Users and Communities” by De Amicis, L., Kralj Novak P., Mozetič I., Applied Network Science 3(4), Springer Open. Available online here. The article is based on a previous publication for the ‘International Workshop on Complex Networks and Their Applications’ (VI, pp. 967-979).

The overall impact of DOLFINS is to achieve crucial advances in reshaping the policy process to overcome the financial and political crisis faced by the EU. DOLFINS is assembling quantitative tools to evaluate policies aiming to tame systemic risk and to foster sustainable investment. The tools are based on fundamental research combining network models and algorithmic game theory with broader economic insights. This approach provides a more satisfactory understanding of credit, risk, and sustainable investments in an interconnected world. DOLFINS is engaging citizens in the early stage of the policy making process and developing evidence-based narratives in order to better shape policies in the public interest. To this end, DOLFINS takes advantage of semantic web technologies, big data and ICT in general. Given the highly technical nature of key issues in finance, we are exploring how ICT and art can facilitate citizens’ engagement through innovative narratives, leading to better coordinated actions of stakeholders.

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