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On the relational motive for volunteer work

  • Prouteau, Lionel
  • Wolff, François-Charles

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 314-335

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:3:p:314-335
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Kathleen M. Day & Rose Anne Devlin, 1996. "Volunteerism and Crowding Out: Canadian Econometric Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 37-53, February.
  2. Benedetto Gui, 2000. "Beyond Transactions: On the Interpersonal Dimension of Economic Reality," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 139-169, 06.
  3. Lionel Prouteau & François-Charles Wolff, 2004. "Relational Goods and Associational Participation," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(3), pages 431-463, 09.
  4. Unger, Lynette S., 1991. "Altruism as a motivation to volunteer," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 71-100, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-59, July.
  7. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  8. Wilhelm, Mark Ottoni & Brown, Eleanor & Rooney, Patrick M. & Steinberg, Richard, 2008. "The intergenerational transmission of generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2146-2156, October.
  9. Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Lionel Prouteau & François-Charles Wolff, 2004. "Le travail bénévole : un essai de quantification et de valorisation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 373(1), pages 33-56.
  12. Duncan, Brian, 1999. "Modeling charitable contributions of time and money," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 213-242, May.
  13. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot85-1, October.
  14. Freeman, Richard B, 1997. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S140-66, January.
  15. Prouteau, Lionel & Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2006. "Does volunteer work pay off in the labor market?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 992-1013, December.
  16. Lionel Prouteau & François-Charles Wolff, 2004. "Donner son temps : les bénévoles dans la vie associative," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 372(1), pages 3-39.
  17. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
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