The effect of volunteering on employment: Evidence from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

Likun Mao* (Corresponding Author), Charles Normand

*Corresponding author for this work

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Given the increasing focus on active ageing, voluntary work among older people has gained substantial attention due to its benefits to individuals, families and communities. A longstanding line of research has investigated the determinants of volunteering and its associated health and well-being benefits, but the relationship between paid work and unpaid volunteering in the older population is less explored. Drawing on data from five waves of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) (2008–2018), we utilise within-individual variations to examine the effect of voluntary work on labour market outcomes amongst the older population aged between 50 and 80. The causal relationship is modelled by dynamic panel models. We find evidence of a substitution relationship between paid employment and voluntary activities, especially a negative effect of frequent volunteering (more than once per week) on participation in paid work in the short term. The effect is heterogeneous in terms of frequency, gender and employment types, suggesting more complex motivations at an individual level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00350
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economics of Ageing
Early online date19 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

This paper is funded as part of the research activities of The Irish
Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), which is funded by the Irish
Department of Health, The Atlantic Philanthropies and Irish Life Plc. The
authors gratefully acknowledge help, support and useful comments from
TILDA team. We also thank all TILDA participants for their supports and


  • Volunteering
  • Older workers
  • Retirement
  • Dynamic panel model


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