Trust and volunteering: Selection or causation? Evidence from a four year panel study
Participation in voluntary associations is often believed to make citizens more trusting of others. This paper reports longitudinal analyses of a time intensive form of participation—volunteering—and generalized social trust using data from three waves of the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Study spanning 4 years (2002–2006; n = 692) refuting this belief. Trust is relatively stable over a 4 year period (0.73). Changes in volunteering are not related to changes in trust. Trust is higher among volunteers mainly because of selective attrition: persons with low trust are more likely to quit volunteering.