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The determinants of purposeful voluntarism

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  • Lipford, Jody W.
  • Yandle, Bruce
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    Abstract

    Voluntarism is pervasive among humans, but what factors explain this particular nonmarket activity? Does it result from altruistic motives to help those less fortunate? Is it the result of rational or instinctive behavior that enhances individual and group survival? In this paper we draw upon the works of Adam Smith, Gary Becker, Herbert Simon, and evolutionary biologists Matt Ridley and Richard Dawkins to construct a formal model of interdependent utility functions. We test the implications of our model with data on volunteerism for U.S. states. Our findings support theories of volunteerism based on mutual aid among people with a common race and language and a relatively even distribution of income.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 72-79

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:72-79

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Volunteerism Social capital Homogeneity;

    References

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    1. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Education, Social Cohesion and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2773, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jody Lipford & Bruce Yandle, 1997. "Exploring the Production of Social Order," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 37-55, March.
    3. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J. & Freshwater, David, 2006. "The production of social capital in US counties," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 83-101, February.
    4. Arthur C. Brooks, 2005. "Does Social Capital Make You Generous?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(1), pages 1-15.
    5. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
    7. Herbert A. Simon, 1992. "Altruism and Economics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 73-83, Winter.
    8. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
    9. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
    10. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    12. Becker, Gary S, 1981. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 1-15, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Barnett, Andy & Yandle, Bruce & Naufal, George, 2013. "Regulation, trust, and cronyism in Middle Eastern societies: The simple economics of “wasta”," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-46.

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