Who are the good samaritans? : an analysis of volunteers and volunteerism in South Africa
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Economic theories usually assume that the amount of work offered by individuals increase as wages and salaries increase. However, there are volunteers who present their work without payment for the production of goods and services, for the benefit of others. Volunteer work is of significance in a time when social safety nets are weak and there are ever increasing demands on welfare organisations. Volunteers can make a difference in their communities and entire society in general which means that if they are understood better, it may be possible to harness their power for the greater good. Therefore, this thesis analyses volunteers and volunteerism in South Africa and the factors that determine their efforts. The manuscript presents a critical discussion of economic theories of volunteering, major concepts and types of volunteers to arrive at a plausible set of models explaining volunteerism and the general motives of volunteers. The descriptive analysis of data sets from the Labour Force Survey was conducted. The data also allows for the estimation of a limited dependent variable regression model of the probability of volunteering as a function of individual-specific predictors. The results from Logit (Binary LogitRegression) regression showed that all estimated coefficients have the expected signs: Females are more likely to do volunteer work more than males; older people are more likely to participate more in volunteer activities than middle age and younger ones. The results also reveal that the higher your level of education, the more likely you will be to do volunteer work. This was the same with income: higher income individuals are more likely to do volunteer work. This study also used data from the Volunteer Activities Survey (VAS) to describe volunteers and estimate a model of the determinants of hours of volunteer work supplied. The results indicate a robust relationships between volunteered and determinant such as gender, age group; population group, level of education, income category, marital status and employment status, to mention few. Results from the regression model show that age is positively related to hours spend doing volunteer work. Even though the gender variable is found to be not statistically significant, the results indicated that women do volunteer work more than men. The further a person is educated the more he/she will participate in voluntary work. The evidence indicated that there is a positive relationship between income and hours of volunteering. The evidence provides a number of findings that are important to policymakers, non-profit organisations and all other stakeholders in volunteerism. This study could be used to devise more efficient and effective plans of how the number of volunteers and the hours that they volunteer could be retained and increased.