Most of the evidence of the positive contribution of volunteering for the volunteers is based on established correlations between volunteering and measures of individual health, well-being or civic engagement. Confounding unobserved variables may lead to biased regression estimates. This paper explores the impact of volunteering on the self-reported health, the self-reported well-being, and the level of political engagement of volunteers, using European Social Survey data for 23 European countries and propensity scores matching estimators.

Analysis suggests that volunteering has a minimal impact on self-reported health, no impact on self-reported well-being, and a significant impact on political engagement when estimated with matching estimators.