Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?

21 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2007  

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Columbia Business School - Management

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

Volunteering constitutes one of the most important pro-social activities. Following Aristotle, helping others is the way to higher individual wellbeing. This view contrasts with the selfish utility maximizer, who avoids helping others. The two rival views are studied empirically. We find robust evidence that volunteers are more satisfied with their life than non-volunteers. The issue of causality is studied from the basis of the collapse of East Germany and its infrastructure of volunteering. People who lost their opportunities for volunteering are compared with people who experienced no change in their volunteer status.

Suggested Citation

Meier, Stephan and Stutzer, Alois, Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?. Economica, Vol. 75, Issue 297, pp. 39-59, February 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1079183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0335.2007.00597.x

Stephan Meier (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
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Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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