Volunteering and leisure activity in the UK: A longitudinal analysis of males and females

Theory recognises the need to account for the allocation of time across activities as a potential constraint on volunteering. Drawing on the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), for the first time this paper examines the decision to volunteer by males and females accounting for their engagement in other leisure activities that also involve discretionary time. Instrumental variable panel-data estimates reveal that it is only for females that volunteering is influenced by the choice of other leisure activities. This implies that males have more autonomy over their volunteering decision relative to their other leisure behaviour compared to females. For males this greater autonomy suggests that volunteering is more closely linked to the concept of ‘serious leisure’ and a form of work as it is more distinct from other leisure activities. These differences have implications for volunteer recruitment.