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Working for a Good Cause

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Author Info

  • Dur, Robert

    ()
    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Zoutenbier, Robin

    ()
    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7058.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Public Administration Review, 2014, 74(2), 144-155
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7058

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Related research

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

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References

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  1. 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).
  2. Paul Gregg & Paul A. Grout & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah Smith & Frank Windmeijer, 2008. "How important is pro-social behaviour in the delivery of public services?," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/197, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. 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).
  4. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Mueller, Hannes, 2011. "Thanks for nothing? Not-for-profits and motivated agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 94-105, February.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  8. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  9. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra and Pieter Serneels, 2010. "Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Jacobsen, Karin J. & Eika, Kari H. & Helland, Leif & Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 818-831.
  12. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  13. Sarah Smith & Edd Cowley, 2011. "Who works in the public sector? Evidence from the World Values Survey," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/268, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  14. 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.
  15. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  16. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  17. repec:dgr:uvatin:2008113 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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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, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 4276, CESifo Group Munich.

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