IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2012-013.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Volunteering, Happiness and Public Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Binder

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany)

  • Andreas Freytag

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

Abstract

Is the activity of volunteering something that benefits the volunteer as well as the recipient of the volunteer's activities? We analyze this relationship and apply matching estimators to the large-scale British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) data set to estimate the causal impact of volunteering on happiness. We take into account personality traits that could jointly determine volunteering behaviour and happiness. We find that the causal impact of volunteering on happiness is positive and increasing over time if volunteering is sustained. In a quantile analysis, we find that this effect seems to be driven by reducing the unhappiness of the less happy quantiles of the well-being distribution. We test the robustness of our findings and discuss their relevance for public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Binder & Andreas Freytag, 2012. "Volunteering, Happiness and Public Policy," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-013, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-013
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www2.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2012/wp_2012_013.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Knowing what is good for you: Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the "objective good"," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 285-307, April.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Almus, Matthias & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2003. "The Effects of Public R&D Subsidies on Firms' Innovation Activities: The Case of Eastern Germany," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(2), pages 226-236, April.
    4. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    5. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
    6. Ruut Veenhoven, 2010. "Greater Happiness for a Greater Number," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(5), pages 605-629, October.
    7. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    8. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
    9. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    10. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
    11. Binder, Martin & Coad, Alex, 2011. "From Average Joe's happiness to Miserable Jane and Cheerful John: using quantile regressions to analyze the full subjective well-being distribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 275-290, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Volunteers are happy
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-04-27 19:33:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zheng Fang & Chris Sakellariou, 2016. "Social Insurance, Income and Subjective Well-Being of Rural Migrants in China—An Application of Unconditional Quantile Regression," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1635-1657, August.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.
    2. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
    3. Binder, Martin & Coad, Alex, 2013. "“I'm afraid I have bad news for you…” Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 155-167.
    4. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2013. "Life satisfaction and self-employment: a matching approach," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1009-1033, May.
    5. Martin Binder, 2013. "Innovativeness and Subjective Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 561-578, April.
    6. Alpaslan Akay & Corrado Giulietti & Juan Robalino & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Remittances and well-being among rural-to-urban migrants in China," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 517-546, September.
    7. Martin Binder, 2015. "Do it with joy: Subjective well-being outcomes of working in non-profit organizations," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2015-03, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    8. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2015. "Heterogeneity in the Relationship Between Unemployment and Subjective Wellbeing: A Quantile Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 865-891, October.
    9. Elias Soukiazis & Sara Ramos, 2016. "The Structure of Subjective Well-Being and Its Determinants: A Micro-Data Study for Portugal," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 1375-1399, April.
    10. Sara Ramos & Elias Soukiazis, 2014. "Determinants of Subjective Well-Being in Portugal: A Micro-Data Study," GEMF Working Papers 2014-16, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    11. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01cn69m419r is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    13. Martin Binder, 2016. "Revisiting Cheerful Jane and Miserable John: the impact of income, good health, social contacts and education declines with increasing subjective well-being," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(8), pages 544-553, May.
    14. Jones, Andrew M. & Wildman, John, 2008. "Health, income and relative deprivation: Evidence from the BHPS," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 308-324, March.
    15. Dusanee Kesavayuth & Robert E. Rosenman & Vasileios Zikos, 2016. "Retirement, Personality, And Well-Being," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 733-750, April.
    16. Binder, Martin, 2016. "“…Do it with joy!” – Subjective well-being outcomes of working in non-profit organizations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 64-84.
    17. O’Leary, Nigel & Li, Ian W. & Gupta, Prashant & Blackaby, David, 2020. "Wellbeing trajectories around life events in Australia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 499-509.
    18. Iddisah Sulemana, 2015. "The Effect of Fear of Crime and Crime Victimization on Subjective Well-Being in Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 849-872, April.
    19. Bookwalter, Jeffrey & Fitch-Fleischmann, Benjamin & Dalenberg, Douglas, 2011. "Understanding life-satisfaction changes in post-apartheid South Africa," MPRA Paper 34579, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Nguyen, Ha & Duncan, Alan, 2015. "Macroeconomic fluctuations in home countries and immigrants’ well-being: New evidence from Down Under," MPRA Paper 69593, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2016.
    21. Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    volunteering; happiness; altruism; generosity; public policy; BHPS;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Markus Pasche). General contact details of provider: http://www.wiwiss.uni-jena.de/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.