On the relational motive for volunteer work
While economists have mainly focused on investment or altruistic motives to explain why people undertake volunteer activities, we rely instead in this paper on the relational motive previously emphasized by social psychologists. Volunteering is seen as a way to build friendly relationships. Drawing on the French survey Vie Associative conducted by INSEE in 2002 on volunteer work and association membership, we shed light on the relevance of this relational motive using two samples of, respectively, 1578 volunteers and 2631 participants in associations. According to their own statements, many volunteers seek to make friends and to meet other people through these activities. Econometric results show that working as a volunteer in an association has a causal impact on the probability of making friends in that association, which also supports the relational motive.
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