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Job satisfaction: a measurement of employment quality compared with aspirations in eight African capitals


  • Mireille Razafindrakoto

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • François Roubaud

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)


(english) This paper analyzes the level of job satisfaction expressed by individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The approach is original in three respects. no in-depth economic study has ever been produced on the determinants of job satisfaction on this continent; the approach aims at isolating the influence of aspirations on satisfaction and identify the specific effects of different job characteristics; the empirical part is based on a set of representative 1-2-3 surveys, perfectly comparables and conducted simultaneously in eight African countries with the participation of the authors. Contrary to the conclusions of many pieces of work, our results confirm that job satisfaction is a good indicator of job quality. Job satisfaction provides a sound assessment of job adequacy with individual aspirations and allows to measure the fit between expectations and the effective insertion of individuals on the labour market. Controlling for aspirations, job satisfaction is associated with various job characteristics. Evidence suggests that, even in the poorest countries, earnings play an important role, but many other factors are at play. The differences by countries underline the great heterogeneity in labour conditions. The value of a job or a labour status may differ drastically according to local contexts and circumstances. Policies should be customized consequently. _________________________________ (français) Cet article vise à analyser la satisfaction exprimée par les individus concernant leur travail en Afrique sub-saharienne. La démarche est novatrice dans la mesure où, d’une part, aucune étude de ce type n’a été menée à ce jour dans ces pays ; d’autre part, l’approche adoptée se propose d’isoler l’influence des aspirations et d’identifier les effets spécifiques de différentes caractéristiques objectives de l’emploi sur la satisfaction. L'étude mobilise un jeu d'enquêtes 1-2-3 représentatives, parfaitement comparables et conduites simultanément avec la participation des auteurs dans huit pays africains. Contrairement aux conclusions avancées dans un certain nombre d’études, nos résultats confirment que la satisfaction constitue un bon indicateur pour évaluer la qualité de l’emploi. En effet, la satisfaction donne une évaluation de l’adéquation de l’emploi relativement aux aspirations individuelles et permet ainsi de mesurer le désajustement entre les attentes et les réalisations dans l’insertion des individus sur le marché du travail. Par ailleurs, en contrôlant l’effet des aspirations, la satisfaction est corrélée avec les différentes caractéristiques de l’emploi. Nous montrons que même dans les pays pauvres, le revenu joue mais n’explique qu’en partie la satisfaction. Les résultats différenciés selon les pays mettent en évidence la variabilité des conditions sur le marché du travail (et des caractéristiques qui permettent de les saisir). Ainsi, un emploi ou un statut donné peut être valorisé différemment selon le contexte en vigueur.

Suggested Citation

  • Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2011. "Job satisfaction: a measurement of employment quality compared with aspirations in eight African capitals," Working Papers DT/2011/14, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201114

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    More about this item


    Job Satisfaction; Labour Market; Informal Sector; Aspirations; Sub-Saharan Africa; Satisfaction dans l'emploi; marché du travail; secteur informel; aspirations; Afrique subsaharienne.;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa


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