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Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, image, and incentives

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  • Carpenter, Jeffrey
  • Myers, Caitlin Knowles

Abstract

We examine motivations for prosocial behavior using new data on volunteer firefighters that contain a dictator game based measure of altruism, surveyed measures of other behavioral factors, and call records that provide an objective measure of time spent volunteering. Controlling for a variety of other explanations, we find that the decision to volunteer is positively correlated with altruism as well as with concern for social reputation or "image." Moreover, by utilizing variation in the presence and level of small stipends paid to the firefighters, we find that the positive effect of monetary incentives declines with image concerns, supporting a prediction that extrinsic incentives can crowd out image motivation for prosocial behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 11-12 (December)
Pages: 911-920

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:11-12:p:911-920

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Volunteer Altruism Image Extrinsic motivation Firefighter;

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References

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  21. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2010. "Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, image, and incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 911-920, December.
  22. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  23. Thomas R. Palfrey & Jeffrey Prisbrey, 2010. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1380, David K. Levine.
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  1. Why volunteer?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-05-20 14:37:00
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