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Public spending and volunteering : 'The Big Society', crowding out, and volunteering capital.

Bartels, Koen and Cozzi, Guido and Mantovan, Noemi (2011) 'Public spending and volunteering : 'The Big Society', crowding out, and volunteering capital.', Working Paper. Durham University, Durham.


The current British Government's "Big Society" plan is based on the idea that granting more freedom to local communities and volunteers willcompensate for a withdrawal of public agencies and spending. This ideais grounded on a widely held belief about the relationship between government and volunteering: a high degree of government intervention willcause a crowding out of voluntary activity. Up to now, however, the crowding out hypothesis has hardly been supported by any empirical evidenceor solid theoretical foundations. We develop a simple theoretical modelto predict how fiscal policy a¤ects the individual decision to volunteer or not. The predictions of the model are tested through the econometricanalysis of two survey data sets, and interpretative analysis of narratives of local volunteers and public officials. Contrary to conventional wisdom,our results suggest that volunteering, by the individuals in the actively working population, declines when government intervention is decreased.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Keywords:Volunteering, Labor supply, Public goods, Altruism. JEL classifcation: H31 H41 J22 I38 D64.
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Status:Not peer-reviewed
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Record Created:07 Dec 2012 10:36
Last Modified:16 Oct 2013 13:25

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