Working for Nothing and Being Happy. The Determinants of the Satisfaction of Volunteers and Paid Workers

  • Miriam Michelutti
  • Marina Schenkel
Part of the AIEL Series in Labour Economics book series (AIEL)


This essay addresses the factors determining the satisfaction that volunteers derive from their own activity, and compares them with those determining the satisfaction of paid workers. The novelty of this approach is that volunteers and paid workers are compared within the same dataset (from Italy), using the same measure of rewards and reported satisfaction for both types of workers. The main findings are that volunteers are individuals who perform an activity which gives them satisfaction for a number of different reasons, and that, while the determinants of satisfaction are not exactly the same for volunteers and paid workers, both of them attach special consideration to the users’ well-being.


Labour Supply Volunteer Activity Extrinsic Motivation Satisfaction Equation Labour Supply Decision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the participants to the 2006 AIEL Conference in Udine, and Marco Musella, Sergio Destefanis, Enrico Rettore, Guido Masarotto for their comments. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Michelutti
    • 1
  • Marina Schenkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of UdineUdineItaly

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