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

Listed author(s):
  • Omar Adam Ayaita

    (University of Tuebingen, LEAD Graduate School & Research Network)

  • Filiz Guelal

    (Paderborn University)

  • Philip Yang

    (University of Tuebingen, LEAD Graduate School & Research Network)

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.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0134_lhwpaper.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW) in its series Economics of Education Working Paper Series with number 0134.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2017
Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0134
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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.
  2. Gregg, Paul & Grout, Paul A. & Ratcliffe, Anita & Smith, Sarah & Windmeijer, Frank, 2011. "How important is pro-social behaviour in the delivery of public services?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 758-766, August.
  3. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2015. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 16(3), pages 343-366, August.
  4. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Nam, Pham Khanh, 2014. "Social preferences are stable over long periods of time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 104-114.
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  6. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2007. "Signaling and screening of workers' motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 605-624, April.
  7. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, July.
  8. Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "Risk Aversion and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 85-99, February.
  9. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2010. "Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, image, and incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 911-920, December.
  10. Buurman, Margaretha & Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Van den Bossche, Seth, 2012. "Public sector employees: Risk averse and altruistic?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 279-291.
  11. Khalil, Elias L., 2004. "What is altruism? A reply to critics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 141-143, February.
  12. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
  13. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2008. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 171-191, January.
  14. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2010. "Managerial talent, motivation, and self-selection into public management," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 654-660, October.
  15. Bowles, Samuel & Hwang, Sung-Ha, 2008. "Social preferences and public economics: Mechanism design when social preferences depend on incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1811-1820, August.
  16. Unger, Lynette S., 1991. "Altruism as a motivation to volunteer," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 71-100, March.
  17. Khalil, Elias L., 2004. "What is altruism?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 97-123, February.
  18. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  19. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(2010)0000030010 is not listed on IDEAS
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