Donating time to charity: working for nothing?

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This paper studies the causal effect of the voluntary contributions of labour to local services, in the form of voluntary provision of daily care to the elderly, on elderly mortality. To identify the causal effect, I exploit the earthquake that occurred in mid-western Japan in 1995 as a natural experiment inducing exogenous variation in the level of contributions. Based on a comparison of mortality between the municipalities that recorded little or no loss of life due to the earthquake but experienced a sharp increase in the level of contributions, and the nearby municipalities that were not hit by the earthquake, I find that the voluntary provision of daily care to the elderly significantly reduced elderly mortality. A series of robustness checks and falsification exercises are conducted to confirm that the results are not driven by the direct effects of the earthquake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-117
Number of pages21
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Issue number1
Early online date27 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the University of Warwick Economics Department.


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