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Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany

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  • Robert Dur
  • Robin Zoutenbier

Abstract

We examine differences in altruism and laziness between public sector employees and private sector employees. Our theoretical model predicts that the likelihood of public sector employment increases with a worker’s altruism, and increases or decreases with a worker’s laziness depending on his altruism. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, we find that public sector employees are significantly more altruistic and lazy than observationally equivalent private sector employees. A series of robustness checks show that these patterns are stronger among higher educated workers; that the sorting of altruistic people to the public sector takes place only within the caring industries; and that the difference in altruism is already present at the start of people’s career, while the difference in laziness is only present for employees with sufficiently long work experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 4276, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4276
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Ayaita & Filiz Guelal & Philip Yang, 2017. "Where Does the Good Shepherd Go? Civic Virtue and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0134, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Jan 2018.
    2. Jørn Rattsø & Rune J. Sørensen, 2016. "Public–private political cleavage: what happens after retirement?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(3), pages 315-333, March.
    3. Anne Boring & Claudine Desrieux & Romain Espinosa, 2018. "Aspiring Top Civil Servants' Distrust in the Private Sector
      [Méfiance envers le secteur privé des aspirants hauts fonctionnaires]
      ," Post-Print halshs-01759358, HAL.
    4. 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.
    5. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Die relative Bezahlung der Hochqualifizierten in Staat und Privatwirtschaft: Deutschland, 1977-2011," Discussion Papers 2013/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    6. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2011. "Working for a Good Cause," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-168/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 23 Apr 2013.
    7. Hospido, Laura & Moral-Benito, Enrique, 2016. "The public sector wage premium in Spain: Evidence from longitudinal administrative data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 101-122.
    8. Alessandro Fedele & Paolo Naticchioni, 2016. "Moonlighting Politicians: Motivation Matters!," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(2), pages 127-156, May.
    9. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2018. "Prosocial motivation and incentives," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 90093, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Max van Lent, 2017. "Increasing the Well-Being of Others On-the-Job and Outside the Workplace," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-061/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public service motivation; altruism; laziness; sorting; public sector employment; personality characteristics;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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