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Are public sector workers different? Cross-European evidence from elderly workers and retirees

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  • Mirco Tonin
  • Michael Vlassopoulos

Abstract

We investigate whether public and private sector employees differ in terms of public service motivation using a representative sample of elderly workers from 12 European countries. We find that public sector workers, both those currently employed and those already retired, are significantly more prosocial; however, the difference in prosociality is explained by differences in the composition of the workforce across the two sectors, in terms of (former) workers’ education and occupation. Subsample analysis reveals that public sector former workers in education are more prosocial even after controlling for a rich set of characteristics. JEL codes: D64; H83; J45 Copyright Tonin and Vlassopoulos; licensee Springer. 2015

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  • Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2015. "Are public sector workers different? Cross-European evidence from elderly workers and retirees," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:izalbr:v:4:y:2015:i:1:p:1-21:10.1186/s40172-015-0027-3
    DOI: 10.1186/s40172-015-0027-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2015. "Are public sector workers different? Cross-European evidence from elderly workers and retirees," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    2. Catherine Eckel & Lata Gangadharan & Philip J. Grossman & Nina Xue, 2021. "The gender leadership gap: insights from experiments," Chapters, in: Ananish Chaudhuri (ed.), A Research Agenda for Experimental Economics, chapter 7, pages 137-162, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Dur, Robert & van Lent, Max, 2018. "Serving the public interest in several ways: Theory and empirics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 13-24.
    4. Brigitte Granville & Jaume Martorell Cruz, 2016. "Squared Segmentation: How the Insider/Outsider divide across Public/Private Employment shapes attitudes towards markets," Working Papers 78, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    5. Lucia Rizzica, 2016. "Why go public? A study of the individual determinants of public sector employment choice," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 343, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Cahuc, Pierre & Carcillo, Stéphane & Minea, Andreea & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2019. "When Correspondence Studies Fail to Detect Hiring Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 12653, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Mirco Tonin, 2020. "Are workers motivated by the greater good?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 138-138, July.
    8. Naoko Okuyama & Mototsugu Fukushige, 2021. "Limited Prosocial Response: Post‐Disaster Charitable Behavior of Public Sector Workers," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(1), pages 77-102, February.
    9. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2014. "Is income redistribution a form of insurance, a public good or both?," Working Papers 2014/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    10. Peter G. Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2017. "Risk aversion and inequity aversion in demand for unemployment benefits," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(2), pages 198-220, April.
    11. Mikula, Stepan & Montag, Josef, 2023. "Roma and Bureaucrats: A Field Experiment on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 16218, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Renfu Luo & Grant Miller & Scott Rozelle & Sean Sylvia & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2015. "Can Bureaucrats Really Be Paid Like CEOs? School Administrator Incentives for Anemia Reduction in Rural China," NBER Working Papers 21302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Štěpán Mikula & Josef Montag, 2022. "Roma and Bureaucrats: A Field Experiment in the Czech Republic," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2022-01, Masaryk University, revised Feb 2023.
    14. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2014. "Is income redistribution a form of insurance, a public good or both?," Working Papers 2014/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public sector; Public service motivation; Volunteering;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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