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Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany

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  • Robert Dur
  • Robin Zoutenbier

Abstract

We examine differences in altruism and laziness between public sector employees and private sector employees. Our theoretical model predicts that the likelihood of public sector employment increases with a worker·s altruism, and increases or decreases with a workers laziness depending on his altruism. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, we find that public sector employees are significantly more altruistic and lazy than observationally equivalent private sector employees. A series of robustness checks show that these patterns are stronger among higher educated workers; that the sorting of altruistic people to the public sector takes place only within the caring industries; and that the difference in altruism is already present at the start of peoples career, while the difference in laziness is only present for employees with sufficiently long work experience.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.436136.de/diw_sp0623.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 623.

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Length: 32 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp623

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Keywords: Public service motivation; altruism; laziness; sorting; public sector employment; personality characteristics;

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References

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  1. Dur, Robert & Non, Arjan & Roelfsema, Hein, 2010. "Reciprocity and Incentive Pay in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4782, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  3. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2009. "Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants and behavioral consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20049, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  5. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2012. "Truth-Telling: A Representative Assessment," IZA Discussion Papers 6919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Patrick Francois & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2008. "Pro-social Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(1), pages 22-54, March.
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  8. Dustmann, Christian & van Soest, Arthur, 1998. "Public and private sector wages of male workers in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1417-1441, September.
  9. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
  11. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-61, April.
  12. 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, vol. 95(7-8), pages 758-766, August.
  13. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2007. "Signaling and screening of workers' motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 605-624, April.
  14. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
  15. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
  16. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2010. "Managerial talent, motivation, and self-selection into public management," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 654-660, October.
  17. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2010. "You Get What You Pay For: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages F256-F271, 08.
  18. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2011. "Working for a Good Cause," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-168/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 23 Apr 2013.
  19. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  20. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur & Seth Van den Bossche, 2009. "Public Sector Employees: Risk Averse and Altruistic?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-067/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  21. Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "Risk Aversion and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 85-99, 02.
  22. Huck Steffen & Rasul Imran, 2010. "Transactions Costs in Charitable Giving: Evidence from Two Field Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, April.
  23. van der Gaag, Jacques & Vijverberg, Wim, 1988. "A Switching Regression Model for Wage Determinants in the Public and Private Sectors of a Developing Country," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 244-52, May.
  24. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  25. Hartog, Joop & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1993. "Public and private sector wages in the Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 97-114, January.
  26. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2011. "Working for a Good Cause," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-168/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 23 Apr 2013.

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