Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries
In this paper we compare the correlation among formal and informal volunteering and self-perceived health across 14 European countries after controlling for socio-economic characteristics, housing features, neighborhood quality, size of municipality, social participation and regional dummies. we find that formal volunteering has a significantly positive association with self-perceived health in Finland and the Netherlands, but none in the other countries. By contrast, informal volunteering has a significantly positive correlation with self-perceived health in the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, and a significantly negative relationship in Italy. Our conclusion is that formal and informal volunteering measure two different aspects of volunteering whose correlations with perceived health seem to depend on specific cultural and institutional characteristics of each country.
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