The happy artist? An empirical application of the work-preference model
AbstractThe artistic labor market is marked by several adversities, such as low wages, above-average unemployment, and constrained underemployment. Nevertheless, it attracts many young people. The number of students exceeds the available jobs by far. A potential explanation for this puzzle is that artistic work might result in exceptionally high job satisfaction, a conjecture that has been mentioned at various times in the literature. We conduct the first direct empirical investigation of artists’ job satisfaction. The analysis is based on panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP). Artists on average are found to be considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists, a finding that corroborates the conjectures in the literature. Differences in income, working hours, and personality cannot account for the observed difference in job satisfaction. Partially, but not fully, the higher job satisfaction can be attributed to the higher self-employment rate among artists. Suggestive evidence is found that superior “procedural” characteristics of artistic work, such as increased variety and on-the-job learning, contribute to the difference in job satisfaction.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 037.
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Job satisfaction; artists; work-preference; cultural economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-CUL-2011-11-14 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-HRM-2011-11-14 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-IUE-2011-11-14 (Informal & Underground Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2011-11-14 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LMA-2011-11-14 (Labor Markets - Supply, Demand, & Wages)
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