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Public sector employees: Risk averse and altruistic?

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  • Buurman, Margaretha
  • Delfgaauw, Josse
  • Dur, Robert
  • Van den Bossche, Seth

Abstract

We assess whether public sector employees have a stronger inclination to serve others and are more risk averse than employees in the private sector. A unique feature of our study is that we use revealed rather than stated preferences data. Respondents of a large-scale survey were offered a substantial reward and could choose between a widely redeemable gift certificate, a lottery ticket, or making a donation to a charity. Our analysis shows that public sector employees are significantly less likely to choose the risky option (lottery) and, at the start of their career, significantly more likely to choose the pro-social option (charity). However, when tenure increases, this difference in pro-social inclinations disappears and, later on, even reverses. Further, our results suggest that quite a few public sector employees do not contribute to charity because they feel that they already contribute enough to society at work for too little pay.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 83 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 279-291

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:3:p:279-291

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Public service motivation; Risk aversion; Revealed preferences data;

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References

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  1. Tim Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 928, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 926-937, December.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Are civil servants different?
    by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-10-12 09:19:00
  2. Public sector employees: Risk averse and (diminishingly) altruistic . . .
    by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2009-10-12 09:57:15
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Köllő, János, 2013. "A közszféra bérszintje és a magánszektorból átlépők szelekciója 1997-2008 között
    [Public-sector pay and flows from the private to the public sector]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 523-554.
  2. Banuri, Sheheryar & Keefer, Philip, 2013. "Intrinsic motivation, effort and the call to public service," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6729, The World Bank.
  3. Constant, Amelie & Krause, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2011. "Economic Preferences and Attitudes of the Unemployed: Are Natives and Second Generation Migrants Alike?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2014. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 8239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2014. "Are Public Sector Workers Different? Cross-European Evidence from Elderly Workers and Retirees," IZA Discussion Papers 8238, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Fehrler, Sebastian & Kosfeld, Michael, 2012. "Pro-Social Missions and Worker Motivation: An Experimental Study," IZA Discussion Papers 6460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2011168 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2012. "Working for a Good Cause," IZA Discussion Papers 7058, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012135 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Molnár, György & Kapitány, Zsuzsa, 2013. "Munkahely a közszférában. Biztonság és hivatás, a szubjektív szempontok szerepe
    [Public sector employment. Security and social mission- the role of subjective aspects]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 781-813.
  11. Andersson, Ola & Huysentruyt, Marieke & Miettinen, Topi & Stephan, Ute, 2014. "Person-Organization Fit and Incentives: A Causal Test," Working Paper Series 1010, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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