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Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor

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  • Freeman, Richard Barry

Abstract

Volunteer activity is work performed without monetary recompense. This article shows that volunteering is a sizeable economic activity in the United States, that volunteers have high skills and opportunity costs of time, that standard labor supply explanations of volunteering account for only a minor part of volunteer behavior, and that many volunteer only when requested to do so. This suggests that volunteering is a "conscience good or activity"-something that people feel morally obligated to do when asked, but which they would just as soon let someone else do.

Suggested Citation

  • Freeman, Richard Barry, 1997. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," Scholarly Articles 4632239, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4632239
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