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Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries


  • Fiorillo, D.
  • Nappo, N.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiorillo, D. & Nappo, N., 2014. "Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 14/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:14/05

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 129-142.
    2. Bruna BRUNO & Damiano FIORILLO, 2016. "Voluntary Work And Wages," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 175-202, December.
    3. Lionel Prouteau & François-Charles Wolff, 2004. "Relational Goods and Associational Participation," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(3), pages 431-463, September.
    4. Musick, Marc A. & Wilson, John, 2003. "Volunteering and depression: the role of psychological and social resources in different age groups," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 259-269, January.
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    6. Prouteau, Lionel & Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2006. "Does volunteer work pay off in the labor market?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 992-1013, December.
    7. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    9. Damiano Fiorillo, 2016. "Workers' health and social relations in Italy," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(5), pages 835-862, October.
    10. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.
    11. Kumar, Santosh & Calvo, Rocio & Avendano, Mauricio & Sivaramakrishnan, Kavita & Berkman, Lisa F., 2012. "Social support, volunteering and health around the world: Cross-national evidence from 139 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(5), pages 696-706.
    12. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
    13. Borgonovi, Francesca, 2008. "Doing well by doing good. The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2321-2334, June.
    14. Menchik, Paul L. & Weisbrod, Burton A., 1987. "Volunteer labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-183, March.
    15. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot85-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 129-142.
    2. Fiorillo, Damiano & Nappo, Nunzia, 2014. "Volunteering and perceived health. A European cross-countries investigation," MPRA Paper 72313, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.

    More about this item


    Attrition; self-perceived health; formal and informal volunteering; European countries;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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