Conducive Macro-Contexts Influencing Volunteering

  • Doug Baer
  • Lionel Prouteau
  • David Swindell
  • Aida Savicka
  • David H. Smith
  • Kuang-Ting TAI


This chapter reviews research on variables that affect rates of formal volunteering in various sets of territories (nations, provinces/states, counties/districts, communities), usually doing multilevel statistical modeling that simultaneously controls relevant, respondent-variables at the level of individuals. Most attention is given to country-level variables regarding macro-context effects. Results have been less consistent than at the individual level of analysis. At the country level, volunteering rates (referring hereinafter always to formal volunteering/FV) tend to be higher for nations with stronger current democracies, longer time as democracies, more welfare state expenditures per capita, higher and more Protestant religiosity, higher levels of average education, and higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. But being part of the Eastern (former communist) Bloc in Europe is a negative factor. In communities, often with inconsistent results, ethnic–racial heterogeneity has negative effects. Special methodological issues are discussed.

In the past three decades, research into the factors leading to individual differences in the likelihood and extent of volunteering and civic engagement has led to a set of stable and well-known findings, with the literature on individual differences now having been summarized by a number of excellent reviews (Dekker and Van Den Broek 2005; Halpern 2005; Musick and Wilson 2008; Smith 1994; Wilson 2000, 2012; see Handbook Chapters 25, 27–31).


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doug Baer
    • 1
  • Lionel Prouteau
    • 2
  • David Swindell
    • 3
  • Aida Savicka
    • 4
  • David H. Smith
    • 5
  • Kuang-Ting TAI
    • 6
  1. 1.Canada
  2. 2.France
  3. 3.USA
  4. 4.Lithuania
  5. 5.USA
  6. 6.Taiwan

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