Immigrant Integration Through Volunteering: The Importance of Contextual Factors

Itay Greenspan, Marlene Walk, Femida Handy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Volunteering is an under-studied yet potentially beneficial avenue for immigrant integration. Whereas past research has provided important insights into the benefits of immigrant volunteering, it has been frequently based on convenience samples. This paper contributes to the literature on immigrant volunteering on two levels. First, we test less explored questions: the differences between immigrant and native-born volunteers on several volunteer indicators, and the contextual factors (cultural, social, and organisational) associated with immigrants' proclivity to volunteer. Second, we rely on a representative sample of the German population, and use propensity score matching to strengthen the robustness of our analysis. Findings suggest that, although native-born individuals display higher rates of volunteering than immigrants, they do not significantly differ on most indicators once immigrants become volunteers. Furthermore, time since migration, social networks and organisational membership are significant drivers of immigrant volunteering. Our findings are a signal for policymakers because social policies could better address contextual and organisational barriers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)803-825
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cambridge University Press.


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