The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction
AbstractThe distribution of job satisfaction widened across cohorts of young men in the U.S. between 1978 and 1988, and between 1978 and 1996, in ways correlated with changing wage inequality. Satisfaction among workers in upper earnings quantiles rose relative to that of workers in lower quantiles. An identical phenomenon is observed among men in West Germany in response to a sharp increase in the relative earnings of high-wage men in the mid-1990s. Several hypotheses about the determinants of satisfaction are presented and examined using both cross-section data on these cohorts and panel data from the NLSY and the German SOEP. The evidence is most consistent with workers regret about the returns to their investment in skills affecting their satisfaction. Job satisfaction is especially responsive to surprises in the returns to observable skills, less so to surprises in the returns to unobservables; and the effects of earnings shocks on job satisfaction dissipate over time.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 42.
Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: May 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2001, 36 (1), 1-30
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Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
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