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Community Matters: How the Volunteering of Others Affects One's Likelihood of Engaging in Volunteer Work

Author

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  • Theodoros M. Diasakos
  • Florence Neymotin

Abstract

We investigate the effect of the volunteering of others on the likelihood that an individual will also engage in volunteering activities. The theoretical part of our analysis is based on a sequential signaling framework, in which the decisions of others to volunteer are informative as to the benefit from volunteering. In this framework, the interaction between one's private information and the public belief when she is called upon to act makes it more likely that she will volunteer, given a higher average level of contributions by her predecessors. To test this empirically, we measure the effect of average volunteering in the community on the likelihood that an individual will volunteer, controlling for individual and community characteristics. We use Census 2000 Summary File 3 and Current Population Survey (CPS) 2004-2007 September supplement files. Our results are robust to various choices of sample, by years analyzed, working status, and whether or not the volunteering included religious activities. We account for reflection bias by means of an instrumental variables strategy which further verifies the pattern of our results.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:209
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    File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.209.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
    2. Jane Kolodinsky & Garret Kimberly & Jonathan Isham, 2004. "Effects of Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0305r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    3. Patrick Francois, 2007. "Making a difference," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 714-732, September.
    4. KimMarie McGoldrick & Ann Battle & Suzanne Gallagher, 2000. "Service-Learning and the Economics Course: Theory and Practice," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 44(1), pages 43-52, March.
    5. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
    6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    7. Chotikapanich, Duangkamon & Griffiths, William, 2001. "On Calculation of the Extended Gini Coefficient," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(4), pages 541-547, December.
    8. Johannes Fedderke & John Luiz & Raphael Kadt, 2008. "Using fractionalization indexes: deriving methodological principles for growth studies from time series evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 257-278, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    volunteer; public good; signaling; community characteristics;

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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