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

  • Jane Kolodinsky
  • Garret Kimberly
  • Jonathan Isham

    ()

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.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0305R.pdf
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Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0305r.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0305r
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  1. 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 829-44, September.
  2. 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 871-97, July.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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, October.
  5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  6. 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.
  7. Meier, Stephan & Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IZA Discussion Papers 1045, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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 174-77, February.
  9. 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.
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