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Working for a Good Cause

  • Dur, Robert

    ()

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Zoutenbier, Robin

    ()

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

A rich literature in public administration has shown that public sector employees have stronger altruistic motivations than private sector employees. Recent economic theories stress the importance of mission preferences, and predict that altruistic people sort into the public sector when they subscribe to its mission. This paper uses data from a representative survey among more than 30,000 employees from 50 countries to test this prediction. We find strong evidence for a mutually reinforcing role of altruism and mission alignment in sorting to the public sector, particularly among highly educated workers and among workers in less-developed countries.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7058.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7058.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Public Administration Review, 2014, 74(2), 144-155
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7058
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Daniela R?tzler & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The development of egalitarianism, altruism, spite and parochialism in childhood and adolescence," Working Papers 2011-07, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  2. Maitreesh Ghatak & Hannes Mueller, 2009. "Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 014, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. 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.
  4. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur & Seth Van den Bossche, 2009. "Public Sector Employees: Risk Averse and Altruistic?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-067/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Jacobsen, Karin & H. Eika, Kari & Helland, Leif & Thori Lind, Jo & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Memorandum 09/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  6. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  7. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
  8. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  9. Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2014. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 8239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
  11. Patrick Francois & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2008. "Pro-social Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(1), pages 22-54, March.
  12. Serra, Danila & Serneels, Pieter & Barr, Abigail, 2010. "Intrinsic Motivations and the Non-Profit Health Sector: Evidence from Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 4746, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Edd Cowley & Sarah Smith, 2013. "Motivation and mission in the public sector: Evidence from the World Values Survey," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/299, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  14. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  15. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  16. 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 464-77, June.
  17. repec:dgr:uvatin:20120135 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  19. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012135 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  21. Serneels, Pieter & Lindelow, Magnus & Garcia-Montalvo, Jose & Barr, Abigail, 2005. "For public service or money : understanding geographical imbalances in the health workforce," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3686, The World Bank.
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