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Working for a Good Cause

  • Robert Dur
  • Robin Zoutenbier

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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-05/cesifo1_wp4227.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4227.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4227
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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. Buurman, Margaretha & Dur, Robert, 2008. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," IZA Discussion Papers 3847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  4. repec:dgr:uvatin:20120135 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  6. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Mueller, Hannes, 2011. "Thanks for nothing? Not-for-profits and motivated agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 94-105.
  7. 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.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  9. Edd Cowley & Sarah Smith, 2013. "Motivation and mission in the public sector: Evidence from the World Values Survey," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/299, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  10. Gregg, Paul & Grout, Paul A. & Ratcliffe, Anita & Smith, Sarah & Windmeijer, Frank, 2011. "How important is pro-social behaviour in the delivery of public services?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 758-766, August.
  11. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "The development of egalitarianism, altruism, spite and parochialism in childhood and adolescence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 369-383.
  13. Danila Serra & Pieter Serneels & Abigail Barr, 2010. "Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 10-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  14. 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.
  15. Jacobsen, Karin & H. Eika, Kari & Helland, Leif & Thori Lind, Jo & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Memorandum 09/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  16. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 4276, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  18. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  19. 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.
  20. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012135 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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.
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