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Work, Jobs and Well-Being across the Millennium

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PARIS-Jourdan Sciences Economiques, unité mixte CNRS-ENPC-ENS)

Abstract

This paper uses repeated cross-section data ISSP data from 1989, 1997 and 2005 to consider movements in job quality. It is first underlined that not having a job when you want one is a major source of low well-being. Second, job values have remained fairly stable over time, although workers seem to give increasing importance to the more “social” aspects of jobs: useful and helpful jobs. The central finding of the paper is that, following a substantial fall between 1989 and 1997, subjective measures of job quality have mostly bounced back between 1997 and 2005. Overall job satisfaction is higher in 2005 than it was in 1989. Last, the rate of self-employment has been falling gently in ISSP data; even so three to four times as many people say they would prefer to be self-employed than are actually self-employed. As the self-employed are more satisfied than are employees, one consistent interpretation of the above is that the barriers to self-employment have grown in recent years. Ce document exploite des données transversales de l’International Social Science Programme (ISSP) portant sur différentes périodes (1989, 1997 et 2005) pour examiner l’évolution de la qualité des emplois. Dans un premier temps, il est souligné que le fait de ne pas avoir d’emploi quand on le voudrait amoindrit considérablement le sentiment de bien-être. Vient ensuite un constat selon lequel la valeur des emplois est demeurée relativement stable au fil du temps. Pour autant, les travailleurs semblent accorder une importance croissante à la dimension « sociale » de leur emploi, privilégiant des notions d’utilité et de services rendus. La principale conclusion du document est que, après une dégradation significative entre 1989 et 1997, les indicateurs subjectifs de la qualité des emplois se sont pour la plupart redressés entre 1997 et 2005. Le degré de satisfaction global à l’égard du travail est plus élevé en 2005 qu’il ne l’était en 1989. Enfin, dans les données de l’ISSP, le taux d’emploi indépendant a diminué tout doucement. Malgré tout, les individus qui disent préférer cette forme d’activité sont trois à quatre fois plus nombreux que ceux qui exercent réellement à titre indépendant. Comme les travailleurs indépendants sont plus satisfaits de leur emploi que les salariés, on peut logiquement en déduire que les obstacles au travail indépendant ont augmenté ces dernières années.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark, 2009. "Work, Jobs and Well-Being across the Millennium," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 83, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:83-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/225358873078
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew E. Clark, 2005. "Your Money or Your Life: Changing Job Quality in OECD Countries," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 377-400, September.
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    3. Duncan Gallie, 2005. "Work Pressure in Europe 1996-2001: Trends and Determinants," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 351-375, September.
    4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    5. Lucie Davoine & Christine Erhel, 2006. "Monitoring Employment Quality in Europe: European Employment Strategy Indicators and Beyond," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00272015, HAL.
    6. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
    7. Platt, Stephen & Micciolo, Rocco & Tansella, Michele, 1992. "Suicide and unemployment in Italy: Description, analysis and interpretation of recent trends," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1191-1201, June.
    8. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
    9. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    10. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, June.
    11. Andrew Clark & Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2009. "Unemployment as a Social Norm in Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 251-260.
    12. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2006. "The (unexpected) structure of "rents" on the French and British labour markets," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 180-196, April.
    13. Bernard M. S. van Praag & Barbara E. Baarsma, 2005. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 224-246, January.
    14. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    15. Benesch Christine & Frey Bruno S. & Stutzer Alois, 2010. "TV Channels, Self-Control and Happiness," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, September.
    16. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2007. "Are there Geographical Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 629-652, February.
    17. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    18. Lucie DAVOINE & Christine ERHEL & Mathilde GUERGOAT-LARIVIERE, 2008. "Monitoring quality in work: European Employment Strategy indicators and beyond," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(2-3), pages 163-198, June.
    19. Clark, Andrew E., 1997. "Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 341-372, December.
    20. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
    21. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    22. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A, 2000. "Taking Another Look at the Gender/Job-Satisfaction Paradox," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 135-152.
    23. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2009. "Ill-health as a household norm: Evidence from other people's health problems," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-259, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aia:aiaswp:121 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lanfranchi, Joseph & Narcy, Mathieu & Larguem, Makram, 2009. "Would you accept this job? An evaluation of the decision utility of workers in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors," MPRA Paper 16359, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Cheryl Carleton & Mary Kelly, 2016. "Alternative Work Arrangements and Job Satisfaction," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 32, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
    4. Clark, Andrew & Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen, 2010. "Boon or bane? Others' unemployment, well-being and job insecurity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 52-61, January.
    5. David R. Howell & Miriam Rehm, 2009. "Unemployment compensation and high European unemployment: a reassessment with new benefit indicators," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 60-93, Spring.
    6. Konstantin M. Wacker & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, 2011. "Do Multinationals Influence Labor Standards? A Close Look at US Outward FDI," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 98, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    7. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures," CEP Special Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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