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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. 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.
  2. Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2014. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 8239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Margaretha Buurman & Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Seth Van den Bossche, 2012. "Public Sector Employees: Risk Averse and Altruistic?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3851, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  10. 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).
  11. Danila Serra & Pieter Serneels & Abigail Barr, 2010. "Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  12. 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.
  13. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  14. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  15. repec:dgr:uvatin:20120135 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. 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.
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