What motivates people to contribute to the public good on a voluntary basis?
We are recruiting interested participants in a study that looks at whether sharing information about how others have volunteered via a purpose-built online platform helps to improve volunteering. If you would like to participate or just would like to know more, please use one of the contact emails listed below to get in touch.
The study builds on existing knowledge about what motivates people to contribute to the public good on a voluntary basis, focusing on how both student volunteers and volunteers in the wider community respond to information about the contributions of others. We are very interested in both adding to academic knowledge about volunteering and informing policy and practice, so we aim to feed back our results to the volunteering organisations we are working with as well as to policy-makers more generally.
Our approach uses randomised control trials in a field setting. Experiments offer a high standard of internal validity. Although there has been a great deal of work on social dilemmas in the laboratory context, the field setting generates high external validity because the experiments are conducted in a real world context that would indicate whether an intervention works in practice and to what degree. The researchers are part of a new but growing political science and public policy research community addressing these issues through their active participation in the Experiments in Government and Politics
(EGAP) group, the University of Manchester Experiments Research Network
, the APSA group on Experimental Research
and the York Trials Unit.
You can read a conference paper
outlining our particular interests in contributions to the public good.