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Can the Changing Nature of Jobs Account for National Trends in Job Satisfaction?

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  • Francis Green
  • Nicholas Tsitsianis

Abstract

We investigate whether trends in job satisfaction, which arguably signal trends in worker well-being, can be explained by changes in the quality of jobs. There were falls in job satisfaction in both Britain and Germany. Elsewhere job satisfaction has been either stable or declining very slowly. In many countries, the series of data on job satisfaction is too short to be confident that any secular trend has taken place. We estimate fixed effects models of the determinants of job satisfaction, in order to attempt to account statistically for trends in job satisfaction in Britain and in Germany. We find that: The intensification of work effort and declining task discretion account for the fall in job satisfaction in Britain. The modest rise in participation in organisational decision-making only mitigated the downward pressure on job satisfaction to a small extent. Contrary to what might be expected from popular commentary, changing job insecurity does not explain the fall in job satisfaction in either country. In Germany there was a modest fall in the proportion of people working the number of hours that they wanted to. However, while working too few or too many hours is a significant source of job dissatisfaction, the changes were too small to have made much of an impact on job satisfaction in Germany. In Britain, the increasing proportions of over-educated workers have had a small downward impact on job satisfaction. The decline in job satisfaction between 1984 and 1998 in Germany remains a puzzle.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Green & Nicholas Tsitsianis, 2004. "Can the Changing Nature of Jobs Account for National Trends in Job Satisfaction?," Studies in Economics 0406, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0406
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    1. Y Georgellis & J G Sessions & N Tsitsianis, 2005. "Self-Employment Longitudinal Dynamics: A Review of the Literature," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 10(2), pages 51-84, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Asadullah, Niaz & Fernández, Rosa M., 2008. "Work-Life Balance Practices and the Gender Gap in Job Satisfaction in the UK: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3582, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Francis Green & Nicholas Tsitsianis, 2005. "An Investigation of National Trends in Job Satisfaction in Britain and Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 401-429, September.
    5. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2006. "Testing for Employee Discrimination in Britain using Matched Employer-Employee Data," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 8-2006, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job satisfaction; unemployment expectations; labour market; labour mobility; panel data; Germany; Britain;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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