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Well-being and Trust in the Workplace

  • John F. Helliwell
  • Haifang Huang

This paper summarizes and extends our recent work using life satisfaction regressions to estimate the relative values of financial and non-financial job characteristics. The well-being results show strikingly large values for non-financial job characteristics, especially workplace trust and other measures of the quality of social capital in workplaces. For example, an increase of trust in management that is about one tenth of the scale is equivalent to more than 30% increase in monetary income. We find that these values differ significantly by gender and by union status. We consider the reasons for such large values, and explore their implications for employers, employees, and policy-makers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14589.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as John Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2011. "Well-Being and Trust in the Workplace," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 747-767, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14589
Note: LS
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  1. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
  2. John F. Heliwell & Haifang Huang, 2005. "How's the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," NBER Working Papers 11759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. StÈphane Bonhomme & GrÈgory Jolivet, 2009. "The pervasive absence of compensating differentials," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 763-795.
  4. Andrew Clark, . "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 415, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2004. "Does Union Membership Really Reduce Job Satisfaction?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 439-459, 09.
  6. Hwang, Hae-shin & Reed, W Robert & Hubbard, Carlton, 1992. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Unobserved Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 835-58, August.
  7. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2007. "Job disamenities, job satisfaction, quit intentions, and actual separations: putting the pieces together," MPRA Paper 3245, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Thomas Cornelißen, 2009. "The Interaction of Job Satisfaction, Job Search, and Job Changes. An Empirical Investigation with German Panel Data," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 367-384, June.
  9. Ernesto Villanueva, 2004. "Compensating wage differentials and voluntary job changes: Evidence from West Germany," Economics Working Papers 738, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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