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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. Maitreesh Ghatak & Hannes Mueller, 2009. "Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 014, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. Jacobsen, Karin J. & Eika, Kari H. & Helland, Leif & Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 818-831.
  3. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
  4. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 623, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  5. 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.
  6. Buurman, Margaretha & Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Van den Bossche, Seth, 2012. "Public sector employees: Risk averse and altruistic?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 279-291.
  7. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  8. Serra, Danila & Serneels, Pieter & Barr, Abigail, 2010. "Intrinsic Motivations and the Non-Profit Health Sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 4746, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  10. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  11. repec:dgr:uvatin:20120135 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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