Cross-national analysis of gender differences in job satisfaction
Research over the past two decades has found significant gender differences in subjective job-satisfaction, with the result that women report greater satisfaction than men in some countries. This paper examines the so-called “gender paradox” using data from the European Social Survey for a subset of fourteen countries in the European Union. We focus on the hypothesis that women place higher values on certain work characteristics than men, which explains the observed differential. Using estimates from Probit and ordered Probit models, we conduct standard Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions to estimate the impact that differential valuations of characteristics have on the gender difference in self-reported job satisfaction. The results indicate that females continue to report higher levels of job satisfaction than do men in some countries, and the difference remains even after controlling for a wide range of personal and job characteristics and working conditions. The decompositions suggest that a relatively small share of the gender differential is attributable to gender differences in the weights placed on working conditions in most countries. Rather, gender differences in job characteristics contribute relatively more to explaining the gender job-satisfaction differential.
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