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Public Sector Employees: Risk Averse and Altruistic?

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

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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-06/cesifo1_wp3851.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3851.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3851

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Keywords: public service motivation; risk aversion; revealed preferences data;

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References

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  3. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
  4. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin, 2010. "You get what you pay for: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," ROA Research Memorandum, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  6. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2008. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 171-191, 01.
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  14. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK 03/071, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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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. 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.
  2. Fehrler, Sebastian & Kosfeld, Michael, 2014. "Pro-social missions and worker motivation: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 99-110.
  3. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Working for a Good Cause," CESifo Working Paper Series 4227, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andersson, Ola & Huysentruyt, Marieke & Miettinen, Topi & Stephan, Ute, 2014. "Person-Organization Fit and Incentives: A Causal Test," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 1010, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012135 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 623, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. repec:dgr:uvatin:2011168 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Banuri, Sheheryar & Keefer, Philip, 2013. "Intrinsic motivation, effort and the call to public service," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6729, The World Bank.

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