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Work, Jobs and Well-Being across the Millennium

  • Andrew E. Clark

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.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 83.

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Date of creation: 23 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:83-en
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  1. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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, 06.
  3. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A, 2000. "Taking Another Look at the Gender/Job-Satisfaction Paradox," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 135-52.
  4. 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.
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:20040024 is not listed on IDEAS
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