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Sorting in the Labor Market: Do Gregarious Workers Flock to Interactive Jobs?

  • Alan B. Krueger
  • David Schkade

This paper tests a central implication of the theory of equalizing differences, that workers sort into jobs with different attributes based on their preferences for those attributes. We present evidence from four new time-use data sets for the United States and France on whether workers who are more gregarious, as revealed by their behavior when they are not working, tend to be employed in jobs that involve more social interactions. In each data set we find a significant and sizable relationship between the tendency to interact with others off the job and while working. People's descriptions of their jobs and their personalities also accord reasonably well with their time use on and off the job. Furthermore, workers in occupations that require social interactions according to the O'Net Dictionary of Occupational Titles tend to spend more of their non-working time with friends. Lastly, we find that workers report substantially higher levels of job satisfaction and net affect while at work if their jobs entail frequent interactions with coworkers and other desirable working conditions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13032.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13032.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as Alan B. Krueger Author Name: David Schkade, 2008. "Sorting in the Labor Market: Do Gregarious Workers Flock to Interactive Jobs?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13032
Note: LS
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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Shirking or Productive Schmoozing: Wages and the Allocation of Time at Work," NBER Working Papers 2800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter & Weinberg,Bruce A., 2005. "People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market - Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Saffer, Henry, 2008. "The demand for social interaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1047-1060, June.
  4. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2010. "How's the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 205-227, January.
  5. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
  6. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  7. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  8. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-43, Nov.-Dec..
  9. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  10. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
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