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Does higher social diversity lower people's contributions to public goods? The case of volunteering in New Zealand


  • Samuel Thornton
  • Jeremy Clark


New Zealand society is becoming more heterogeneous. A growing body of international literature suggests that heterogeneity lowers people's contributions towards public goods and social capital. We use two iterations of New Zealand census data to estimate the effect of ethnic, religious, income and language heterogeneity on neighbourhood volunteering rates while controlling for other factors. We use cross-section and fixed-effects analysis under various specifications, measures of diversity, and level of neighbourhood. Our cross-sectional results find that most dimensions of heterogeneity are negatively related with volunteering, consistent with international findings. However, our fixed effects results are much weaker, and cannot fully address the endogeneity problems posed by people's self-selection into neighbourhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Thornton & Jeremy Clark, 2010. "Does higher social diversity lower people's contributions to public goods? The case of volunteering in New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 27-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:nzecpp:v:44:y:2010:i:1:p:27-59 DOI: 10.1080/00779951003614065

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Phillips, Peter C B, 1985. "The Exact Distribution of LIML: II," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 21-36, February.
    2. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
    3. Bergstrom,Albert Rex & Nowman,Khalid Ben, 2012. "A Continuous Time Econometric Model of the United Kingdom with Stochastic Trends," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107411234, March.
    4. Phillips, Peter C. B., 1988. "The Et Interview: Professor Albert Rex Bergstrom," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 301-327, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hayden Armstrong & Jeremy Clark, 2013. "Does higher social diversity affect people's contributions to local schools? Evidence from New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 188-223, August.

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    heterogeneity; volunteering;


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