People choose to donate to philanthropic causes through donations of both time and money. Given that a person must give up an hour of some other activity (like paid work) to give an hour to a charity, how do people view the relationship between gifts of time and gifts of money? Do people choose to give time, when they have relatively more available time versus available money? Or is it that certain people are the “giving type” thus they choose to give both time and money. Previous research has found that people who give money are more likely to give time (e.g. Brown and Lankford, Journal of Public Economics, 1992), so it may appear that some people are just the “giving type”.[i]
If we believe that certain people are “givers” of both time and money, then when we find that a particular group is especially likely to give money, we may naturally want to check if they are also more likely to give time. The recent report “Women Give 2010” by Women’s Philanthropy Institute finds that over all income levels single female headed households were more likely to give monetary donations than single male headed households. After reading this report, as a PhD candidate in Economics at UC San Diego, I naturally started to wonder if women were also more likely to give time than men.
At first glance, I wasn’t certain that women would give more time than men in the recent past. Women have likely surpassed men in their monetary donations because women have become increasingly more educated and more involved in paid work. Increases in education and paid work may lead to higher household income and greater availability of money to donate to philanthropy. But, this increase in paid work may also be coupled with less time available to volunteer. In fact from 1965 to 1993 married working age women decreased their weekly hours volunteered (Tiehen, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2005), and full time employed women have a lower propensity to volunteer at their child’s school than part time employed women (Gee, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2010).
Yet, using a very basic analysis, it appears that women are not only more likely to donate money, but in general they are also more likely to donate time as well. Using roughly the same income categories as the “Women Give 2010” report, I found that on average single women in 3 of the 5 income categories had a higher average rate of volunteerism than single men.[ii] If I include married persons, then women have a higher average rate of volunteerism in all but one income category. Note that these are simply the average rates of volunteering, and so they are not directly comparable to the data included in the “Women Give 2010” report, which controlled for a number of other variables (age, education etc.).
Guest blogger Laura Gee is a doctoral candidate at the University of California San Diego and recipient of the 2010 WPI Dissertation Fellowship.
[i] I am not claiming that gifts of time and gifts of money are compliments in the economic sense of the word. For a great analysis of whether time and money are substitutes or compliments see Feldman, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2010.
[ii] Income range 1: $0-$24,999, Income range 2: $25,000-$49,999, Income range 3: $50,000-$74,999, Income Range 4: $75,000-$99,9999, Income Range 5: $100,000 and above.