The Effect of Volunteering on Social Recognition : Evidence From a Distribution Game
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- Master Thesis 
Volunteering is essential for developed economies. While previous research about volunteering has focused on the volunteers themselves, our study investigates how volunteers are viewed by society. We conducted a randomized online experiment in two stages; in the first stage, decisionmakers distributed a small sum of money between two recipients who then received the money in the second stage. The goal of the experiment was to ascertain whether the volunteerism of the recipients affected inequality acceptance on the part of the decision-makers. Participants in the first stage were randomly distributed into two groups. One group was asked to distribute money between two neutral recipients, while the other group was asked to distribute money between one who volunteers outside the experiment and one who does not. We find that volunteers are, on average, rewarded for their volunteer work in this context. We also find an in-group nature to this effect, meaning that decision-makers who volunteer more than four hours a month tended to distribute more money to recipients who volunteer in comparison to decision-makers who seldom, or never, volunteer. This is evidence that the act of volunteering is viewed positively in society and that volunteers may be rewarded in other areas of life.