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Does It Pay to Work for Free? Wage Returns and Gender Differences in the Market for Volunteers

Author

Listed:
  • Cozzi, Guido

    () (University of St. Gallen)

  • Mantovan, Noemi

    () (Bangor University)

  • Sauer, Robert M.

    () (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Abstract

Working as a volunteer is a widespread phenomenon that has both individual and societal benefits. In this paper, we identify the wage returns to working for free by exploiting exogenous variation in rainfall across local area districts in England, Scotland and Wales. Instrumental variables estimates reveal large returns for both men and women. However, the returns are differentially greater for men and account for a substantial proportion of the gender earnings gap. A comparison of OLS and IV estimates also indicates negative selection into volunteering for both genders. In a model of optimal volunteering, negative selection implies that a reduction in the cost of volunteering will lead to an expanded and higher-skilled pool of volunteers, and greater societal benefits. A policy that has the effect of reducing the cost relatively more for women may also narrow the gender earnings gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Cozzi, Guido & Mantovan, Noemi & Sauer, Robert M., 2013. "Does It Pay to Work for Free? Wage Returns and Gender Differences in the Market for Volunteers," IZA Discussion Papers 7697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7697
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    Cited by:

    1. Van Belle, Eva & Caers, Ralf & De Couck, Marijke & Di Stasio, Valentina & Baert, Stijn, 2018. "The Signal of Applying for a Job Under a Vacancy Referral Scheme," GLO Discussion Paper Series 173, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    volunteering; altruism; gender differences; discrimination; instrumental variables; rainfall; negative selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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