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Job Satisfaction and Self-Selection into the Public or Private Sector: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Natalia Danzer

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Abstract

Are public sector jobs better than private sector jobs? To answer this question, this paper investigates observed differences in job satisfaction between public- and private-sector workers and disentangles the effect of worker sorting from the one caused by sectorspecific job characteristics. A natural experiment —the massive privatization process in post-Soviet countries—allows correcting potential self-selection bias. Industry-specific privatization probabilities are assigned to workers based on unique individual-level survey information regarding pre-determined Soviet jobs during the 1980s. The results reveal a causal public-sector satisfaction premium and a negative selection of individuals into the public sector. Part of the public-private satisfaction gap can be explained by the different availability of fringe benefits in the two sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalia Danzer, 2013. "Job Satisfaction and Self-Selection into the Public or Private Sector: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," ifo Working Paper Series 169, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_169
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcus Klemm, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 0379, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Antonio Di Paolo, 2012. "(Endogenous) occupational choices and job satisfaction among recent PhD recipients: evidence from Catalonia," Working Papers XREAP2012-21, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Dec 2012.
    3. Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle, 2014. "Happiness and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 8435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Meier, Volker & Schiopu, Ioana, 2015. "Optimal higher education enrollment and productivity externalities in a two-sector model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 1-13.
    5. Klemm, Marcus, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 379, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0379 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rodrigo Montero & Diego Vásquez, 2015. "Job Satisfaction and Reference Wages: Evidence for a Developing Country," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 1493-1507, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public sector; job satisfaction; self-selection; quasi-experiment; privatization; fringe benefits.;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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