Volunteering and Life or Financial Shocks: Does Income and Wealth Matter?

49 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2014  

Tony Beatton

Queensland University of Technology

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: December 18, 2014

Abstract

Volunteering is a dominant social force that signals a healthy state. However, although the literature on volunteering is extensive, knowledge on how life’s discontinuities (life event shocks) affect volunteering is limited because most studies work with static (cross-sectional) data. To reduce this shortcoming, we use longitudinal data from Australia (HILDA) that tracks the same individuals over time to assess how individuals from different income and wealth groups respond to life and financial shocks with respect to volunteering. Although both income and wealth can act as buffers against life shocks by providing stability and reducing vulnerability — which decreases the need to actually change behaviour patterns — we observe more heterogeneity than expected and also stickiness at the lowest income levels. Response delays in post-shock volunteering also suggest that volunteering habits may be driven and influenced by strong commitment and motivation that are not shattered by life or financial shocks. In fact, the amount of time spent volunteering tends to increase after negative income shocks and decrease after positive income shocks.

Keywords: Volunteering, Life Event Shocks, Financial Shocks, Income, Wealth, Habits, Panel, Australia

JEL Classification: D64, J22, D31, Z13, N37

Suggested Citation

Beatton, Tony and Torgler, Benno, Volunteering and Life or Financial Shocks: Does Income and Wealth Matter? (December 18, 2014). FEEM Working Paper No. 103.2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2540489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2540489

Tony Beatton

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia
+61 7 313 82692 (Phone)
+61 7 313 81500 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/faculty/schools/economics/staffcontact/TonyBeatton.jsp

Benno Torgler (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

CREMA

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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