To volunteer or donate money? Wolfers offers an economic perspective

January 7, 2015

When it comes to charity, people often wonder whether it's best to contribute time or money. Justin Wolfers speaks with WalletHub Charity Calculator on the advantages of both. 

As an economist, Wolfers invokes the principle of comparative advantage in favor of financial contributions. "You're probably good at your job, and the charity is good at theirs, and you can both be made better off by specializing...." But Wolfers also cares deeply about happiness, and notes that donors may "enjoy a few hours of volunteering a lot more than a few extra hours at the office."

"Spending time doing something that feels meaningful can definitely make you happier," he says, "and it comes with the added advantage that you make a difference in your community.

Justin Wolfers is a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan and a senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.