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Effects of Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey

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  • Jane Kolodinsky
  • Garret Kimberly
  • Jonathan Isham

    ()

Abstract

As membership in traditional civic organizations declines in the United States (Putnam, 2000), could volunteering for nonprofit organizations be an alternative source of social capital formation? We use an updated household production framework (Becker, 1996) to theoretically connect volunteering with two forms of social capital: social connections and civic capacity. Using a unique statewide data set from Vermont, we then use the Cragg (1971) model to estimate the determinants of the probability of receiving a social capital benefit, and the level of such a benefit. We first show that the probability of receiving a social connection or a civic capacity benefit from one's most important nonprofit organization is increased: (a) if it is a religious or social service organization; (b) if one increases their volunteering for the organizations; and (c) if one is female, college educated or in a two-parent family. However, the relative magnitude of volunteering is similar, or relatively small, compared to the other significant determinants. We then show that an increase of volunteer hours does increase the levels of social connection and civic capacity, but the magnitude of this effect is also relatively small.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0305R.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0305r.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0305r

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Related research

Keywords: household production; civic engagement; social capital; volunteering;

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References

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  1. Lin, Tsai-Fen & Schmidt, Peter, 1984. "A Test of the Tobit Specification against an Alternative Suggested by Cragg," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 174-77, February.
  2. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, May.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  4. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
  5. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-97, July.
  6. Day, K.M. & Devlin, R.A., 1993. "The Payoff to Work without Pay: Volunteer Work as an Investment in Human Capital," Working Papers 9310e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  7. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, . "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IEW - Working Papers 180, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Theodoros M. Diasakos & Florence Neymotin, 2011. "Community Matters: How the Volunteering of Others Affects One's Likelihood of Engaging in Volunteer Work," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 209, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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