Involuntary volunteering: The impact of mandated service in public schools
In 1992, Maryland became the first—and only—state to require service activity of all public high school graduates. Proponents of mandates note that since individual volunteer activity is correlated over time, mandates will create lifetime volunteers. Prior studies demonstrate differences in the observed characteristics of volunteers and nonvolunteers which could drive the correlation in service over time. Using restricted-access data from the Monitoring the Future project, I find the mandate increased volunteering among eighth-grade students. However, the mandate likely reduced volunteering among twelfth-grade students. In contrast to creating lifelong volunteers, my results suggest that the mandate changed the timing of volunteering.
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