The Relationship between Participation in Sport and Sport Volunteering: An Economic Analysis
Dawson, Peter, Downward, Paul, International Journal of Sport Finance
This paper explores the relationship between participation in sport as a consumer activity and sport volunteering as a producer activity. Using data from the Taking Part Survey, evidence is found that the decision to engage in sports participation and sports volunteering as well as the duration of the activities are complementary. In general, the findings confirm the well-established impacts of human and economic capital on engagement in sports-related activities, as well as the availability of time. However, there is evidence of the shifting roles of consumption and production of sport as family commitments change while differential effects are also found with respect to ethnicity, health, and the accessibility of sports facilities.
Keywords: participation in sport, sport volunteering, bivariate models
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For more than a decade sport has increasingly become part of the public policy agenda. Historically, the role of sport in policy has varied, moving from raising general physical fitness for military preparedness to using sport as a form of social welfare policy (Houlihan, 1997; Green, 2004; Green & Houlihan, 2005). The most obvious manifestation of this was the development of a 'Sport for All' policy by the Council of Europe in 1966 which, in fact, captured a progressive international sentiment that took many different forms and labels. The broad sentiment was to encourage physical activity both from a traditional competitive sporting context to one that included informal sport that was inclusive for the masses. The objectives were primarily to promote health and mental and social benefits as well as to achieve various political aims, which varied across context (McIntosh, 1980). By 1975 the Council of Europe published the European Sport for All Charter which echoed these sentiments. This was replaced by the European Sports Charter in the 1990s. Although the term 'Sport for All' was dropped from the title of the Charter, there remains a substantial proportion of the Charter's 13 articles which relates to the promotion of sporting access and equity. Symbiotically interest in the policy promotion of elite sports success at major events like the Olympics occurred across a diverse range of governments.
This development is exemplified in the UK, where sports policy emphases have most recently been driven by DCMS/Strategy Unit (2002) and Carter (2005). Under the Blair government, these strategic reviews identified the symbiotic benefits to the nation of promoting participation and hosting major events. From a broader social policy perspective, currently in the UK, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has championed a 'Big Society' in which volunteering and involvement in social action, including sport, is to be encouraged, along with charitable giving and philanthropy, and the need to get young people mixing from different backgrounds and getting involved in their communities.1
Currently, in an environment of public sector cuts, but the hosting of the London 2012 Olympic games, the strategic priorities set by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are for a £1bn investment to support a new strategy 'Creating a sporting habit for life: A new youth sport strategy'2 to be delivered by Sport England. The strategy retains the symbiotic links between hosting major events and sports participation, but focuses on the 14-25 years old age group with the aim of developing long-term sporting participation as a legacy from the Olympics. This is to be achieved by supporting schemes that forge links between education and community sports clubs and National Governing Bodies, with funding being withdrawn from schemes that do not deliver results. This emphasizes both the importance of evaluating policy in the light of evidence, which in the form of 'evidence-based policy' has played a large, if not unchallenged, role in recent discussions of the need to increase the accountability of political decisions (Head, 2010) in both the UK and elsewhere. …