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Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?

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  • STEPHAN MEIER
  • ALOIS STUTZER

Abstract

Volunteering constitutes one of the most important pro-social activities. Following Aristotle, helping others is "the" way to higher individual wellbeing. This view contrasts with the selfish utility maximizer, who avoids helping others. The two rival views are studied empirically. We find robust evidence that volunteers are more satisfied with their life than non-volunteers. The issue of causality is studied from the basis of the collapse of East Germany and its infrastructure of volunteering. People who lost their opportunities for volunteering are compared with people who experienced no change in their volunteer status. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2007.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 297 (02)
Pages: 39-59

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:75:y:2008:i:297:p:39-59

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  1. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(2), pages 191-231.
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  6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  8. Schram, Vicki R & Dunsing, Marilyn M, 1981. " Influences on Married Women's Volunteer Work Participation," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 372-79, March.
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  12. Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
  13. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Menchik, Paul L. & Weisbrod, Burton A., 1987. "Volunteer labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-183, March.
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  1. Affective Forecasting and Optimal Environmental Behaviour
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-12-30 15:11:00
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