14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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Voluntary work, health and subjective wellbeing: a resource for active ageing?
Pierluigi Conzo, Leonardo Becchetti

Last modified: 2015-03-09


The hypothesis that active community involvement is beneficial for health finds strong support in the medical literature and in most policy guidelines for active ageing in OECD countries. We test it empirically documenting that lagged voluntary work is significantly correlated with later changes in various aggregated and disaggregated health indicators. However, when controlling for panel attrition, endogeneity and reverse causality, the positive effect of voluntary work remains robust  only for a limited number of indicators. We calculate the monetary equivalent of health-related subjective wellbeing benefits of volunteer work with the compensating variation approach and compare it with benefits in terms of the social value of increased longevity.


health satisfaction; voluntary work; life satisfaction; public health costs; active ageing