The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction
The distribution of job satisfaction widened across cohorts of young men in the United States between 1978 and 1988, and between 1978 and 1996, in ways correlated with changing wage inequality. Satisfaction among workers in upper earnings quantiles rose relative to that of workers in lower quantiles. An identical phenomenon is observed among men in West Germany in response to a sharp increase in the relative earnings of high-wage men in the mid-1990s. Several hypotheses about the determinants of satisfaction are presented and examined using both cross-section data on these cohorts and panel data from the NLSY and the German SOEP. The evidence is most consistent with workers regret about the returns to their investment in skills affecting their satisfaction. Job satisfaction is especially responsive to surprises in the returns to observable skills, less so to surprises in the returns to unobservables; and the effects of earnings shocks on job satisfaction dissipate over time.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1999|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Hamermesh, Daniel S. "The Changing Distribution Of Job Satisfaction," Journal of Human Resources, 2001, v36(1,Winter), 1-30.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Freeman, Richard B, 1978.
"Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange)
- LEVY-GARBOUA, Louis & MONTMARQUETTE, Claude, 1997.
"Reported Job Satisfaction : What Does It Mean?,"
Cahiers de recherche
9705, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Levy-Garboua, Louis & Montmarquette, Claude, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction: what does it mean?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-151, April.
- Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction : What does it mean?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00203197, HAL.
- Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "Reported Job Satisfaction: What Does It Mean?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-09, CIRANO.
- Steiner, Viktor & Wagner, Kersten, 1997. "East West German wage convergence - How far have we got?," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-25, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
- Farber, Henry S, 1990. "The Decline of Unionization in the United States: What Can Be Learned from Recent Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S75-105, January.
- Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
- Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7332. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.