Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/20280
Authors: 
Meier, Stephan
Stutzer, Alois
Year of Publication: 
2004
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion paper series 1045
Abstract: 
Volunteering constitutes one of the most important pro-social activities. Following Adam Smith, helping others is the way to higher individual well-being. This view contrasts with the selfish utility maximizer who avoids costs from helping others. The two rival views are studied empirically. We find robust evidence that volunteers are more satisfied with their life than non-volunteers. Causality is addressed taking advantage of a natural experiment: the collapse of East Germany and its infrastructure of volunteering. People who accidentally lost their opportunities for volunteering are compared to people who experienced no change in their volunteer status.
Subjects: 
happiness
pro-social behavior
subjective well-being
volunteering
JEL: 
D64
Z13
J22
I31
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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