Assistant Professor Dr. Chul Hyun Park and Jason Ortega ('20) have co-authored a research article, “The Benefit and Cost of Voluntary Work in Government: The Case of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Boat Crew Program,” for Evaluation and Program Planning.
The article, which is based on Ortega’s Capstone research as a Clinton School student, focuses on the cost-benefit analysis of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Boat Crew Program, a volunteer program of more than 30,000 members that helps distressed boaters, patrols regattas and marine events, and assists in maritime observations. More than 5,000 of the program members are active Boat Crew.
Ortega has served as a volunteer for the Coast Guard Auxiliary since 2011 and is currently Vice Commander of Flotilla 15-08 in Central Arkansas. Park and Ortega’s research is unique from previous studies related to the cost efficiency of volunteer work in that the majority of previous research has focused on nonprofits rather than public organizations.
The research from Park and Ortega shows that the Auxiliary Boat Crew Program added an economic benefit of $4.8-$5.4M, the equivalent of more than 100 full-time Coast Guard personnel.
From the article’s abstract:
We discovered that approximately $1.39 million was invested in volunteers to run the boat crew program for 2019. We also estimated the total monetary benefit of volunteer contributions by using the replacement cost method. As a result, we found that 5,369 volunteers contributed approximately 199,000 hours to the boat crew program in 2019. It means that the program extended the equivalent of 104 full-time Coast Guard personnel in 2019. The total economic benefit attributed to the volunteer contributions of labor ranged from $4.8 million to $5.4 million. Therefore, for every dollar the Coast Guard invested in the volunteer program, they obtained an additional return of $3.42 to $3.89 from volunteer contributions.
Evaluation and Program Planning is a bimonthly peer-reviewed multidisciplinary social science journal covering program evaluation. Its work is based on the principle that the techniques and methods of evaluation and planning transcend the boundaries of specific fields and that relevant contributions to these areas come from people representing many different positions, intellectual traditions, and interests.
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