Volunteering at the extensive margin: intrinsic or extrinsic motive?

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This paper identifies the nature of the predominant motive (consumption versus investment) moving people to offer labour for free by considering the major beneficiary sectors involved. Using basic consumption and investment models, some hy-potheses are derived and tested to identify the salient motivation for volunteering in each sector. The analysis results in two main findings: (a) in peace movements and in women's groups and associations, volunteers seem to be mainly intrinsically motivated and (b) in sectors concerned with social welfare for the elderly people or in religious and health organizations, the key motivation for volunteering is investment (extrinsic returns).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-136
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of Economics and Statistics
Issue number131
Early online dateSept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Labor supply
  • Volunteering
  • Intrinsic motive
  • Labour supply.


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