Skip to main content
Log in

How immigration reduced volunteering in the USA: 2005–2011

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
The Annals of Regional Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

In this study, we show that an inflow of immigrants reduces volunteering, a proxy of social capital investment, in receiving communities. Since the 1960s, there has been a large decrease in social capital in the USA as well as a considerable inflow of immigrants. This increased heterogeneity of US cities may have increased the cost of investing in social capital, and thereby, reduced such investment. By using the current population survey September Volunteer Supplement for 2005–2011, we examine the relationship between the proportion of foreign-born people and social capital investment by US-born individuals, proxied by volunteering. Once we correct for immigrants’ self-selection to different destinations using a supply–push instrumental variable, we find that a 1 standard deviation increase in the proportion of foreign-born individuals in a state reduces the probability of US-born individuals volunteering by 0.09–0.15 standard deviations and cuts number of hours volunteered by 0.13–0.21 standard deviations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. For recent changes to CPS surveys, see the BLS website http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch1_e.htm.

  2. This same effect would be seen if quality of education abroad was lower than education in the USA.

  3. If we included foreign-born individuals in our sample, our results would be similar.

  4. However, this result for hours volunteered is not statistically significant.

References

  • Aguilera MB, Massey DS (2003) Social capital and the wages of Mexican migrants: new hypotheses and tests. Soc Forces 82:671–701

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alesina A, La Ferrara E (2000) Participation in heterogeneous communities. Q J Econ 115:847–904

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Behtoui A, Neergaard A (2010) Social capital and wage disadvantages among immigrant workers. Work Employ Soc 24:761–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bekkers R (2005) Participation in voluntary associations: relations with resources, personality, and political values. Polit Psychol 26:439–54

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beyerlein K, Hipp JR (2006) From pews to participation: the effect of congregation activity and context on bridging civic engagement. Soc Probl 53:97–117

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Borjas GJ (1987) Self-selection and the earnings of immigrants. Am Econ Rev 77:531–53

    Google Scholar 

  • Borjas GJ (2003) The labor demand curve is downward sloping: reexamining the impact of immigration on the labor market. Q J Econ 118:1335–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brekke KA, Kverndokk S, Nyborg K (2003) An economic model of moral motivation. J Public Econ 87:1967–83

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Card D (2001) Immigration inflows, native outflows, and the local market impacts of higher immigration. J Labor Econ 19:22–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Charles KK, Kline P (2006) Relational costs and the production of social capital: evidence from carpooling. Econ J 116:581–604

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costa DL, Kahn ME (2003) Understanding the American decline in social capital, 1952–1998. Kyklos 56:17–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duleep HO, Regets MC (1999) Immigrants and human-capital investment. Am Econ Rev Papers Proc 89:186–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Durlauf SN (2002) Bowling alone: a review essay. J Econ Behav Org 47:259–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Glaeser EL, Laibson DI, Sacerdote B (2002) An economic approach to social capital. Econ J 112:F437–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Halapuu V, Paas T, Tammaru T (2013) Is institutional trust related to pro-immigrant attitudes? A pan-European evidence. Euroasian Geogr Econ 56:572–593

    Google Scholar 

  • Handy F, Greenspan I (2009) Immigrant volunteering: a stepping stone to integration? Nonprofit Volunt Sect Q 38:956–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Helliwell JF, Putnam R (2007) Education and social capital. East Econ J 33:1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kanas A, Chiswick BR, Lippe T, Tubergen F (2012) Social contacts and the economic performance of immigrants: a panel study of immigrants in Germany. Int Migrat Rev 46:680–709

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kawashima-Ginsberg K, Hoban Kirby E (2009) Volunteering among youth of immigrant origin. The Center For Information and Research On Civic Learning & Engagement Fact Sheet

  • Massey DS (2011) Aysa-Lastra M (2011) Social capital and international migration from Latin America. Int J Popul Res 834145(834145):1–18

    Google Scholar 

  • Norris P, Inglehart R (2005) Gendering social capital: bowling in women’s leagues? In: O’Neill B, Gidengil E (eds) Gender and social capital. Routledge, New York, pp 73–98

    Google Scholar 

  • Ottaviano G, Peri G (2012) Rethinking the effect of immigration on wages. J Eur Econ Assoc 10:152–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ottaviano G, Peri G (2008) Immigration and national wages: clarifying the theory and the empirics. NBER Working Paper No. 14188, The National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA

  • Peri G (2011) Rethinking the area approach: immigrants and the labor market in California. J Int Econ 84:1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Putnam RD (1995) Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. J Democr 6:65–78

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Putnam RD (2000) Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ruggles S, Alexander TJ, Genadek K, Goeken R, Schroeder MB, Sobek M (2010) Integrated public use microdata series: version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

  • Thöni C, Tyran JR, Wengström E (2012) Microfoundations of social capital. J Public Econ 96(7):635–643

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wozniak A, Murray TJ (2012) Timing is everything: short-run population impacts of immigration in US cities. J Urban Econ 72:60–78

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tiago Freire.

Additional information

T. Freire: For comments and advice, the authors thank Haoming Liu and Jingping Li as well as other participants at the North American Regional Science Conference, European Economic Association Annual Congress, European Labour Economic Association Conference, European Regional Science Association Congress, Western Economic Association International Pacific Rim Bi-Annual Conference, Portuguese Economic Journal Meetings, APDR Congress, and seminars at the National University of Singapore, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, and Xi’an JiaoTong, Liverpool University.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Freire, T., Li, X. How immigration reduced volunteering in the USA: 2005–2011. Ann Reg Sci 60, 119–141 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-017-0848-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-017-0848-z

JEL Classification

Navigation