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Why without pay? Intrinsic motivation in unpaid labour supply

  • Bruna Bruno
  • Damiano Fiorillo

Economic theory explains the supply of volunteering alternatively as an ordinary consumer good or an investment one. This paper provides a simultaneous approach considering both the objectives, by using the psychological distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, in order to reconcile conflicting results reported in the literature. According to the simultaneity approach, the paper develops a theoretical model of unpaid labour supply within an agent’s two-period utility maximization problem, taking into account the role of psychological motivation. The theoretical findings are tested with a sample selection model for Italy, by using 1997 Multipurpose Households Survey on everyday life issues of Istat. Robustness analysis and endogeneity test for intrinsic motivation are also performed. Empirical analysis rejects the hypothesis that only a consumption or investment motive could explain Italian volunteers’ behaviour, supporting the hypothesis that both motives interact in shaping regular unpaid labour supply, with a stronger impact of consumption motives. The relevant variables for frequently supplied unpaid labour are intrinsic motivation, age, household income, family responsibilities and activity sector.

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Paper provided by D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy in its series Discussion Papers with number 3_2011.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:prt:dpaper:3_2011
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  1. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2008. "Environmental regulation of households: An empirical review of economic and psychological factors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 559-574, July.
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  16. Bruno, B., 2010. "Rewarding my Self. The role of Self Esteem and Self Determination in Motivation Crowding Theory," MPRA Paper 23117, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Menchik, Paul L. & Weisbrod, Burton A., 1987. "Volunteer labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-183, March.
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  19. Franz Hackl & Martin Halla & Gerald J Pruckner, 2004. "The fallacy of the Good Samaritan: Volunteering as a weird way of making money," Economics working papers 2004-15, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
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