, Volume 151, Issue 3-4, pp 465-495
Date: 30 Dec 2010

Volunteering and the state

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Abstract

Volunteering participation rates vary greatly across countries even when the potential volunteers’ individual characteristics are controlled. We therefore analyze the volunteers’ motives against the backdrop of the predominant political and economic environment in different countries, focusing on the state’s role in influencing an individual’s decision to volunteer. Combining individual-level data from the European and World Values Survey with macroeconomic and political variables for OECD countries, we identify three channels through which governmental activities influence voluntary labor: size of the state (i.e., amount of public social expenditure), political consensus between voters and the government, and government support for democratization.