An Empirical Examination of Formal and Informal Volunteering in Canada

Lili Wang, Laurie Mook, Femida Handy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Using data from the 2008 General Social Survey of Canada, this study examines the factors associated with individuals’ propensity to engage in formal and informal volunteering. The results show that social networks increase the likelihood of both formal and informal volunteering, but social trust and human capital increase only the likelihood of formal volunteering and not of informal care. The findings also reveal interesting cultural influences and regional differences in the propensity to engage in formal and informal volunteering, especially between French-speaking Canadians and English-speaking Canadians, and those living in Quebec and outside of Quebec. Native-born Canadians are more likely to volunteer than their immigrant counterparts, but they are similar to immigrants in the propensity to provide informal care. Additionally, women are found to be more likely to engage in formal volunteering and informal care than men. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
StateAccepted/In press - May 23 2016


  • Cultural influences
  • Formal volunteering
  • Human capital
  • Informal volunteering
  • Social networks
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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