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Risk Aversion and Sorting into Public Sector Employment

  • Christian Pfeifer

This research note uses two German data sets – the large-scale German Socio-Economic Panel and unique data from own student questionnaires – to analyse the relationship between risk aversion and the choice for public sector employment. Main results are: (1) more risk averse individuals sort into public sector employment, (2) the impact of career specific and unemployment risk attitudes is larger than the impact of general risk attitudes, and (3) risk taking is rewarded with higher wages in the private but not in the public sector.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0475.2010.00505.x
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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 12 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 85-99

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:12:y:2011:i:1:p:85-99
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  1. Dustmann, C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1997. "Wage structures in the private and public sectors in West Germany," Other publications TiSEM f1b3bfed-ce84-471a-a9d7-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
  3. Andrew Clark & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2005. "Job Security and Job Protection," CEP Discussion Papers dp0678, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. George J. Borjas, 2002. "The Wage Structure and the Sorting of Workers into the Public Sector," NBER Working Papers 9313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Don Bellante & Albert N. Link, 1981. "Are public sector workers more risk averse than private sector workers?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 408-412, April.
  6. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 1990. "Cigarette Smoking, Seatbelt Use, and Differences in Wage-Risk Tradeoffs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 202-227.
  7. Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer & Rainer winkelmann, 2006. "The Happiness Gains From Sorting and Matching in the Labor Market," IEW - Working Papers 275, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Blaise Melly, 2005. "Public-private sector wage differentials in Germany: Evidence from quantile regression," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 505-520, 09.
  9. James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mueller, Richard E., 1998. "Public-private sector wage differentials in Canada: evidence from quantile regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 229-235, August.
  11. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-63, December.
  12. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-53, October.
  13. Rebecca M. Blank, 1985. "An analysis of workers' choice between employment in the public and private sectors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(2), pages 211-224, January.
  14. Pederson, P. J. & Schmidt-Sorensen, J. B. & Smith, N. & Westergard-Nielsen, N., 1990. "Wage differentials between the public and private sectors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 125-145, February.
  15. Feinberg, Robert M, 1977. "Risk Aversion, Risk, and the Duration of Unemployment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(3), pages 264-71, August.
  16. Pannenberg, Markus, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 2806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-74120 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Markus Pannenberg, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 23, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  19. 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.
  20. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1974. "Risk, Job Search, and Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1255-67, Nov.-Dec..
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