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Effects of Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey

Author

Listed:
  • Jane Kolodinsky
  • Garret Kimberly
  • Jonathan Isham

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Abstract

As membership in traditional civic organizations declines in the United States (Putnam, 2000), could volunteering for nonprofit organizations be an alternative source of social capital formation? We use an updated household production framework (Becker, 1996) to theoretically connect volunteering with two forms of social capital: social connections and civic capacity. Using a unique statewide data set from Vermont, we then use the Cragg (1971) model to estimate the determinants of the probability of receiving a social capital benefit, and the level of such a benefit. We first show that the probability of receiving a social connection or a civic capacity benefit from one's most important nonprofit organization is increased: (a) if it is a religious or social service organization; (b) if one increases their volunteering for the organizations; and (c) if one is female, college educated or in a two-parent family. However, the relative magnitude of volunteering is similar, or relatively small, compared to the other significant determinants. We then show that an increase of volunteer hours does increase the levels of social connection and civic capacity, but the magnitude of this effect is also relatively small.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0305r
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    File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0305R.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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..
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    3. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
    4. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1.
    5. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-844, September.
    6. Lin, Tsai-Fen & Schmidt, Peter, 1984. "A Test of the Tobit Specification against an Alternative Suggested by Cragg," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 174-177, February.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
    8. Kathleen Day & Rose Annue Devlin, 1998. "The Payoff to Work without Pay: Volunteer Work as an Investment in Human Capital," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1179-1191, November.
    9. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-897, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diasakos, Theodoros M & Neymotin, Florence, 2013. "Coordination in Public Good Provision: How Individual Volunteering is Impacted by the Volunteering of Others," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-119, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Florence Neymotin, 2016. "Individuals and Communities: the Importance of Neighbors Volunteering," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 149-178, June.
    3. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    household production; civic engagement; social capital; volunteering;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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