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What makes a good job? Evidence from OECD countries


  • Andrew E. Clark


Empirical labour economics largely considers that wages and hours of work are sufficient indicators of job quality. Using information on 14000 workers in 19 OECD countries it is shown that, first, workers actually say that wages and hours are amongst the least important characteristics of a job. Second, using information on 14 types of job outcomes, there is evidence of matching: workers who say that promotion is important have jobs with greater promotion opportunities, for example. Third, overall job satisfaction is strongly correlated with all of the job outcome variables, suggesting that it picks up a wide variety of only rarely-measured job characteristics. Fourth, jobs with better outcomes are held by women, older workers, and non-union workers (as typically found in job satisfaction analysis). Last, subjective evaluations of income and hours (considering one's income to be high, and wanting to change hours of work) have a strong significant impact on job satisfaction, even controlling for their objective counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark, 2004. "What makes a good job? Evidence from OECD countries," DELTA Working Papers 2004-28, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2004-28

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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Holly & Alwine Mohnen, 2012. "Impact of Working Hours on Work-Life Balance," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 465, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Falco, Paolo & Maloney, William F. & Rijkers, Bob & Sarrias, Mauricio, 2015. "Heterogeneity in subjective wellbeing: An application to occupational allocation in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 137-153.
    3. Eric Bonsang & Arthur Soest, 2012. "Satisfaction with Job and Income Among Older Individuals Across European Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(2), pages 227-254, January.
    4. Kovacevic, Bojana & Gajic, Tamara & Penic, Mirjana, 2012. "Job Satisfaction Among The Employees In Novi Sad’S Tourist Agencies," Economics of Agriculture, Institute of Agricultural Economics, vol. 59(2).
    5. Dominik Hanglberger, 2010. "Arbeitszufriedenheit und flexible Arbeitszeiten – Empirische Analyse mit Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels," FFB-Discussionpaper 80, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    6. Tangian, Andranik S., 2005. "A composite indicator of working conditions in the EU-15 for policy monitoring and analytical purposes," WSI Working Papers 135, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    7. Böhnke, Petra & Kohler, Ulrich, 2008. "Well-being and inequality," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    8. Thomas Cornelißen & Olaf Hübler, 2011. "Unobserved Individual and Firm Heterogeneity in Wage and Job‐Duration Functions: Evidence from German Linked Employer–Employee Data," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 469-489, November.
    9. Dominique Méda, 2017. "The Future of work: The meaning and value of work in Europe," Working Papers hal-01616579, HAL.
    10. Maurizio Pugno & Paolo Verme, 2011. "Life Satisfaction, Social Capital and the Bonding-Bridging Nexus," Working Papers 2011-08, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
    11. Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "What makes a good job? Job quality and job satisfaction," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 215-215, December.
    12. Natalia Montinari, 2011. "The Dark Side of Reciprocity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-052, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

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