The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction
The distribution of job satisfaction widened across cohorts of young men in the United States between 1978 and 1988, and between 1978 and 1996, in ways correlated with changing wage inequality. Satisfaction among workers in upper earnings quartiles rose relative to that of workers in the lowest quartile. 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' job satisfaction being especially responsive to surprises in the returns to observable skills, less so to surprises in the returns to unobservables. The effects of earnings shocks on job satisfaction dissipate over time.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Farber, Henry S, 1990. "The Decline of Unionization in the United States: What Can Be Learned from Recent Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S75-105, January.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
- Steiner, Viktor & Wagner, Kersten, 1997. "East West German wage convergence - How far have we got?," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-25, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1977.
"Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable,"
NBER Working Papers
0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 2004.
"Reported job satisfaction : What does it mean?,"
Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers)
- Levy-Garboua, Louis & Montmarquette, Claude, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction: what does it mean?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-151, April.
- Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
- Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:36:y:2001:i:1:p:1-30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.