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Participation of Older Europeans in Volunteer Work

  • Marcel Erlinghagen
  • Karsten Hank

    ()

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Today’s discussion about the growing ‘burden of ageing’ must not neglect the substantial productive potential of the elderly population. Using micro-data from the new ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ (SHARE), we explore cross-national patterns of volunteering and the relationship between selected socio-demographic characteristics and participation in voluntary work among the population aged 50 and older in 10 countries. Our analysis reveals a clear spatial pattern of volunteering (with higher participation rates in Northern Europe and lower ones in the Mediterranean countries) and shows that particularly age, education, health, and involvement in other social activities matter greatly for the individual’s propensity to engage in volunteer work. Our conclusions stress the need to maintain a contextual perspective in future research on volunteering, accounting for the role of institutions and culture, and support policies and programs designed to encourage elder citizens to make use of their productive potential – for the benefit of themselves and society.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 05071.

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Date of creation: 16 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:05071
Contact details of provider: Postal: Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany
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  1. Agar Brugiavini & Tullio Jappelli & Guglielmo Weber, 2002. "The Survey on Health, Aging and Wealth," CSEF Working Papers 86, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. David Wise, 1997. "Retirement against the demographic trend: More older people living longer, working less, and saving less?," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 83-95, February.
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