Occupational inequalities in volunteering participation: using detailed data on jobs to explore the influence of habits and circumstances

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

British Journal of Sociology


Paul S. Lambert and Alasdair C. Rutherford

Publication date


In this paper we present empirical results that show that detailed occupations have distinctive patterns of association with voluntary participation. We draw upon data from four secondary survey datasets from the UK (coverage 1972–2012). Occupations are shown to link to volunteering in a wide range of scenarios and in individual, household, and longitudinal contexts. We argue that these linkages provide insight into social inequalities in volunteering, and that they can help us to understand the relative influence of “circumstance” and “habits” in enabling or inhibiting voluntary participation.






Labour Market, Sociology, Social Stratification and Social Behaviour


Online Early; © 2020 The Authors. The British Journal of Sociology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of London School of Economics and Political Science; This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.