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

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  • Jane Kolodinsky
  • Garret Kimberly
  • Jonathan Isham

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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2008. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 917-926, September.
    2. Joseph J. Sabia & Joseph P. Price & H. Elizabeth Peters & Reginald Covington, 2018. "The effect on teenage childbearing on social capital development: new evidence on civic engagement," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 629-659, September.
    3. 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).
    4. Stefano Bartolini & Luigi Bonatti, 2006. "How Can the Decline in Social Capital be Reconciled with a Satisfactory Growth Performance?," Department of Economics University of Siena 477, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    5. Florence Neymotin, 2016. "Individuals and Communities: the Importance of Neighbors Volunteering," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 149-178, June.
    6. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2008. "The role of social capital in enhancing factor productivity: Does its erosion depress per capita GDP?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1539-1553, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Sauer, Robert M. & Wilson, John & Mantovan, Noemi, 2019. "The Economic Benefits of Volunteering and Social Class," IZA Discussion Papers 12713, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    household production; civic engagement; social capital; volunteering;
    All these keywords.

    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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