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Working for a Good Cause

Author

Listed:
  • Dur, Robert

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Zoutenbier, Robin

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2012. "Working for a Good Cause," IZA Discussion Papers 7058, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7058
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    5. 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.
    6. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
    7. 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.
    8. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erick Gong, 2016. "Motivating Agents: How Much Does the Mission Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 211-236.
    2. David Ong & Chun-Lei Yang, 2014. "Pro Bono Work and Trust in Expert Fields," CESifo Working Paper Series 4897, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    World Values Survey; sorting; public service motivation; altruism; mission preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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