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Working for a Good Cause

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  • Robert Dur
  • Robin Zoutenbier

Abstract

A rich literature in public administration has shown that public sector employees have stronger altruistic motivations than private sector employees. Recent economic theories stress the importance of mission preferences, and predict that altruistic people sort into the public sector when they subscribe to its mission. This paper uses data from a representative survey among more than 30.000 employees from 50 countries to test this prediction. We find strong evidence for a mutually reinforcing role of altruism and mission alignment in sorting to the public sector, particularly among highly educated workers and among workers in less-developed countries.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-05/cesifo1_wp4227.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4227.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4227

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Keywords: public service motivation; altruism; mission preferences; sorting; World Values Survey;

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References

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  1. Gregg, Paul & Grout, Paul A. & Ratcliffe, Anita & Smith, Sarah & Windmeijer, Frank, 2011. "How important is pro-social behaviour in the delivery of public services?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 758-766.
  2. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
  3. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2012. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 12-135/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 02 Jun 2014.
  4. Maitreesh Ghatak & Hannes Mueller, 2009. "Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE 014, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra and Pieter Serneels, 2010. "Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics CSAE WPS/2010-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Buurman, Margaretha & Dur, Robert & van den Bossche, Seth, 2009. "Public Sector Employees: Risk Averse and Altruistic?," IZA Discussion Papers 4401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Patrick Francois & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2008. "Pro-social Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, CESifo, vol. 54(1), pages 22-54, March.
  8. Jacobsen, Karin & Eika, Kari H. & Helland, Leif & Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are Nurses More Altruistic than Real Estate Brokers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5721, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  10. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  11. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  12. Sarah Smith & Edd Cowley, 2011. "Who works in the public sector? Evidence from the World Values Survey," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK 11/268, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  13. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  14. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  15. Serneels, Pieter & Lindelow, Magnus & Garcia-Montalvo, Jose & Barr, Abigail, 2005. "For public service or money : understanding geographical imbalances in the health workforce," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3686, The World Bank.
  16. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
  17. repec:dgr:uvatin:2008113 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Gong, Erick, 2013. "Motivating Agents: How Much Does the Mission Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 7602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2012. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 12-135/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 02 Jun 2014.
  3. David Ong & Chun-Lei Yang, 2014. "Pro Bono Work and Trust in Expert Fields," CESifo Working Paper Series 4897, CESifo Group Munich.

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