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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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    volunteering; happiness; altruism; generosity; public policy; BHPS;

    JEL classification:

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

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