Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Doing well by doing good. The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness

Contents:

Author Info

  • Borgonovi, Francesca
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    In this paper, we examine whether engaging in voluntary work leads to greater well-being, as measured by self-reported health and happiness. Drawing on data from the USA, our estimates suggest that people who volunteer report better health and greater happiness than people who do not, a relationship that is not driven by socio-economic differences between volunteers and non-volunteers. We concentrate on voluntary labor for religious groups and organizations and using second stage least square regressions we find that religious volunteering has a positive, causal influence on self-reported happiness but not on self-reported health. We explore reasons that could account for the observed causal effect of volunteering on happiness. Findings indicate that low relative socio-economic status is associated with poor health both among those who volunteer and those who do not. Low status, however, is associated with unhappy states only among those who do not volunteer, while volunteers are equally likely to be happy whether they have high or low status. We propose that volunteering might contribute to happiness levels by increasing empathic emotions, shifting aspirations and by moving the salient reference group in subjective evaluations of relative positions from the relatively better-off to the relatively worse-off.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-4S0954N-3/2/e93972b28e01b44288f787afccad3de9
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 11 (June)
    Pages: 2321-2334

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:11:p:2321-2334

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description

    Order Information:
    Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional
    Web: http://www.elsevier.com/orderme/journalorderform.cws_home/315/journalorderform1/orderooc/id=654&ref=654_01_ooc_1&version=01

    Related research

    Keywords: Volunteering Health Happiness Well-being Causality Status USA;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: the role of social interactions in individual health," AICCON Working Papers 84-2011, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    2. Damiano Fiorillo & Nunzia Nappo, 2011. "Job satisfaction in Italy: individual characteristics and social relations," Discussion Papers 5_2011, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    3. Hilke Brockmann, 2010. "Why are Middle-Aged People so Depressed? Evidence from West Germany," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 23-42, May.
    4. D. Fiorillo; & F. Sabatini;, 2011. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 11/23, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. Aaker, Jennifer L. & Rudd, Melanie & Mogilner, Cassie, 2010. "If Money Doesn't Make You Happy, Consider Time," Research Papers 2067, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. Hilke Brockmann, 2009. "Why Are Middle-Aged People so Depressed?: Evidence from West Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 233, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Vasoontara Yiengprugsawan & Boonchai Somboonsook & Sam-ang Seubsman & Adrian Sleigh, 2012. "Happiness, Mental Health, and Socio-Demographic Associations Among a National Cohort of Thai Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(6), pages 1019-1029, December.
    8. Fiorillo, D.; & Nappo, N.;, 2014. "Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 14/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in self-reported individual health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(11), pages 1644-1652.
    10. Emmanouil Mentzakis & Paul McNamee & Mandy Ryan & Matthew Sutton, 2012. "Valuing Informal Care Experience: Does Choice of Measure Matter?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 169-184, August.
    11. Pfeffer, Jeffrey & DeVoe, Sanford E., 2012. "The Economic Evaluation of Time Organizational Causes and Individual Consequences," Research Papers 2123, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    12. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:11:p:2321-2334. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.