"Walking the walk" of public service motivation: Public employees and charitable gifts of time, blood, and money

Houston, D. J.
January 2006
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;1/1/2006, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p67
Academic Journal
Research generally indicates that public employees "talk the talk," but do they also "walk the walk" of the public service motive (PSM)? Are public service employees more likely than others to engage in public service activities? The behavioral implications of PSM are addressed by studying the involvement in charitable activities of public, nonprofit, and private workers. Using data from the 2002 General Social Survey, multivariate logistic regression models are estimated to examine self-reported gifts of time, blood, and money to charitable organizations. It is found that government employees are more likely to volunteer for charity and to donate blood than for-profit employees are. Additionally, nonprofit workers are also more likely than their for-profit counterparts to volunteer. However, no difference is found among public service and private employees in terms of individual philanthropy. These findings generally lend support for the hypothesis that PSM is more prominent in public service than in private organizations, especially as it pertains to government personnel.


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