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The Underemployment Puzzle: The Effects Of Overqualification And Involuntary Part-Time Status On Volunteering

Author: BRIAN K. COLLINS and LAURIE LONG
Published in PAQ, Vol. 39 No. 4

Reverberations from the Great Recession are evident in the long-term underemployed, which includes involuntary part-time employees and those who hold educational credentials in excess of occupational requirements. Yet, the relationship between underemployment and volunteering has not been fully explored. This research examines whether two common conceptions of underemployment? overqualification and involuntary part-time employment?affect the likelihood of volunteering. Underemployment is examined from consumption and investment models of volunteering to offer contrasting implications about the relationship between underemployment and volunteering. We use logit models to analyze data from a regional underemployment survey to assess our hypotheses. Our findings suggest that self-perceptions of underemployment and objective indicators of educational overqualification increase the likelihood of volunteering, which presents important opportunities for the nonprofit and voluntary sector during periods of economic restructuring.

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