Can volunteer work help explain the male-female earnings gap?
Using the 1987 Survey of Volunteer Activity in Canada, we examine whether differential returns to volunteer work in the paid labour market can explain part of the male-female earnings gap. Male volunteers earn, on average, about 11% higher incomes than their non-volunteering counterparts as a result of their volunteer experience, whereas comparable female volunteers and non-volunteers earn similar incomes. This differential return across the sexes may be partially explained by the type of volunteer activity undertaken. Our results indicate that as much as one third of the male-female earnings gap may be attributable to the fact that the labour market rewards male and female volunteers differently.