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Where Does the Good Shepherd Go? Civic Virtue and Sorting into Public Sector Employment

Author

Listed:
  • Omar Adam Ayaita
  • Filiz Gülal
  • Philip Yang

Abstract

Several studies have analyzed different motives to work in the public versus private sector. Some studies focus on prosocial motivation, others focus on need for security (risk aversion). However, the study of prosocial motivation in the context of public sector employment has largely focused on altruism and neglected other forms of prosocial motivation, in particular civic virtue, the motive to contribute to the society. In addition, it is unclear whether the positive relationship between prosocial motivation and public sector employment is due to selection at the career start or socialization during the career. Our study extends the understanding of the motivational basis of public sector employment by considering civic virtue in addition to altruism and risk aversion and by investigating selection and socialization. Using a largely representative, longitudinal data set of employees in Germany including 63,101 observations of 13,673 different individuals, we find that civic virtue relates positively to public sector employment beyond altruism and risk aversion. We find evidence on selection and no evidence on socialization as an explanation for this result. Our study offers important insight into the motivational basis of public versus private sector employment and has implications for employers’ attempts to attract and retain suitable employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Omar Adam Ayaita & Filiz Gülal & Philip Yang, 2017. "Where Does the Good Shepherd Go? Civic Virtue and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 930, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp930
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2010. "You Get What You Pay For: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 256-271, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civic virtue; engagement; prosocial motivation; public sector employment; selection; socialization;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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