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

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • David A. Schkade

    (University of California, San Diego)

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.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/139krueger.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 63.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:139krueger
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  1. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1990. "Shirking or productive schmoozing: Wages and the allocation of time at work," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 121-133, February.
  3. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," IZA Discussion Papers 2724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-43, Nov.-Dec..
  7. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter & Weinberg,Bruce, 2005. "People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  8. Henry Saffer, 2005. "The Demand for Social Interaction," NBER Working Papers 11881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  10. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2010. "How’s the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 205-227, January.
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