*Research fellow - EconomEtica, interuniversity centre of research, Bicocca University, Via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi 8, 20126, Milano, Italy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The analysis presented in this paper stems from research conducted within the joint project “The added value of volunteer work” carried out by EconomEtica – University of Milano Bicocca, University of Parma, “Forum Solidarietà– centre for voluntary work in Parma” and Cariparma Foundation. I would like to thank all the project's participants. I also wish to thank Marco Faillo, Lorenzo Sacconi, and two anonymous referees who allowed me to improve the final version of this paper. Finally, I am deeply indebted to Gianluca Grimalda for his accurate and precious notes and suggestions. Remaining errors are solely my own.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivations to Volunteer and Social Capital Formation
Article first published online: 8 JUL 2009
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 62, Issue 3, pages 359–370, August 2009
How to Cite
Degli Antoni, G. (2009), Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivations to Volunteer and Social Capital Formation. Kyklos, 62: 359–370. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.2009.00440.x
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 8 JUL 2009
Although intrinsic motivations receive increasing attention in explaining human actions, our knowledge on their causes and effects is incomplete. Quite surprisingly, the existing literature fails to consider the relationship between intrinsic motivations and social capital formation. The present paper increases the understanding on the effect of intrinsic motivations by studying the role that different motivations to volunteer have on the creation of volunteers' social capital which is intended as networks of cooperative relations.
Our empirical analysis considers three indices of social capital, aimed at measuring both the quantitative (number) and the qualitative (degree of familiarity and cooperation) character of social relations, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to volunteer (ideal motivations, the desire to feel useful to others, the pursuit of social recognition and the desire to increase the number of acquaintances or friends).
We find that the creation of social capital through participation in voluntary associations is not indifferent to the motivations which induced the volunteer to start his/her unpaid activity. In particular, we show that intrinsic motivations enable people to extend their social networks by creating relations characterized by a significant degree of familiarity. By contrast, extrinsic motivations, and in particular the decision to join an association in order to increase the number of acquaintances or friends, promote the creation of networks from a quantitative point of view, but they do not facilitate the creation of relations based on a particular degree of confidence.