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Community Matters: How the Volunteering of Others Affects One's Likelihood of Engaging in Volunteer Work

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  • Theodoros M. Diasakos
  • Florence Neymotin

Abstract

We investigate the effect of the volunteering of others on the likelihood that an individual will also engage in volunteering activities. The theoretical part of our analysis is based on a sequential signaling framework, in which the decisions of others to volunteer are informative as to the benefit from volunteering. In this framework, the interaction between one's private information and the public belief when she is called upon to act makes it more likely that she will volunteer, given a higher average level of contributions by her predecessors. To test this empirically, we measure the effect of average volunteering in the community on the likelihood that an individual will volunteer, controlling for individual and community characteristics. We use Census 2000 Summary File 3 and Current Population Survey (CPS) 2004-2007 September supplement files. Our results are robust to various choices of sample, by years analyzed, working status, and whether or not the volunteering included religious activities. We account for reflection bias by means of an instrumental variables strategy which further verifies the pattern of our results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 209.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:209

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Keywords: volunteer; public good; signaling; community characteristics;

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  1. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-28, September.
  2. Jane Kolodinsky & Garret Kimberly & Jonathan Isham, 2004. "Effects of Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0305r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  3. Johannes Fedderke & J.M. Luiz & R.H. J. de Kadt, 2005. "Using Fractionalization Indexes: deriving methodological principles for growth studies from time series evidence," Working Papers 05, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  4. Chotikapanich, D. & Griffiths, W., 2001. "On Calculation of the Extended Gini Coefficient," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 801, The University of Melbourne.
  5. Patrick Francois, 2007. "Making a difference," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 714-732, 09.
  6. Marc Bilodeau & Al Slivinski, . "Toilet Cleaning and Department Chairing: Volunteering a Public service," Public Economics 9405001, EconWPA.
  7. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
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