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No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment

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  • Linardi, Sera
  • McConnell, Margaret A.

Abstract

We study the effect of the social environment on the quantity and quality of voluntary labor contributions. By extending Benabou and Tirole's (2006) image signaling framework, we derive theoretical predictions on time volunteered given (1) the availability of excuses to stop volunteering and (2) the presence of an authority figure. We test these predictions in an experiment where laboratory subjects are directly involved in a local nonprofit operation. We find that in the absence of excuses to stop volunteering, subjects volunteer longer without working less productively. This increase is partially driven by subjects' reluctance to be the first to stop volunteering. The presence of an authority figure has little impact, but the presence of peers has a positive and significant impact.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 445-454

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:5-6:p:445-454

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

Related research

Keywords: Prosocial behavior Experiments Voluntary contributions Labor Social image Organizational design;

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References

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  1. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Time is not money," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 663, Stockholm School of Economics.
  2. Dean Karlan & John List, 2006. "Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00279, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2005. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
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  8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  9. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Schady, Norbert R., 2001. "Who participates : the supply of volunteer labor and the distribution of government programs in rural Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2671, The World Bank.
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  13. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
  14. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  15. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2004. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000439, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Frank, Bjorn, 1998. "Good news for experimenters: subjects do not care about your welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 171-174, November.
  17. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2012. "Wallflowers Doing Good: Field and Lab Evidence of Heterogeneity in Reputation Concerns," Working Papers 485, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics.
  2. Timothy C. Salmon & Danila Serra, 2013. "Does Social Judgement Diminish Rule Breaking?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2013-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6716, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jana Friedrichsen & Dirk Engelmann, 2013. "Who Cares for Social Image? Interactions between Intrinsic Motivation and Social Image Concerns," CESifo Working Paper Series 4514, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Nicholas Wilson & Wentao Xiong & Christine Mattson, 2011. "Is Sex Like Driving? Risk Compensation Associated with Male Circumcision in Kisumu, Kenya," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-14, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jan 2012.
  6. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Min Sok Lee, 2011. "Can Tailored Communications Motivate Volunteers? A Field Experiment," Working Papers 1023, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  7. Anya Savikhin Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2014. "When Identifying Contributors is Costly: An Experiment on Public Goods," Working Papers 14-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  8. Xiao, Erte, 2012. "Justification and cooperation," MPRA Paper 36120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Julian Conrads & Bernd Irlenbusch & Tommaso Reggiani & Rainer Michael Rilke & Dirk Sliwka, 2013. "How to Hire Helpers? Evidence From a Field Experiment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 04-03, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.

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