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Temporary employment, job satisfaction and subjective well-being


  • Chris Dawson

    (School of Management, University of Bath)

  • Michail Veliziotis

    () (University of the West of England, Bristol)


This paper is concerned with whether employees on temporary contracts in Britain report lower well-being than those on permanent contracts, and whether this relationship is mechanised by differences in certain aspects of job satisfaction. Previous research has identified a well-being gap between permanent and temporary employees but has not addressed what individual and contract specific characteristics contribute to this observed difference. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), this paper finds that a large proportion of the difference in self-reported well-being between permanent and temporary employees appears to be explained by differences in satisfaction with job security. Other dimensions of job satisfaction are found to be less important. This leads us to believe that an employment contract characterised by a definite duration lowers individual well-being principally through a heightened feeling of job insecurity.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Dawson & Michail Veliziotis, 2013. "Temporary employment, job satisfaction and subjective well-being," Working Papers 20131309, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:20131309

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark P. Taylor, 2006. "Tell me why I don't like Mondays: investigating day of the week effects on job satisfaction and psychological well-being," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(1), pages 127-142.
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    3. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2013. "Flexibilisation without Hesitation? Temporary Contracts and Workers’ Satisfaction," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201304, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    4. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    5. Brendan Burchell, 1999. "The Unequal Distribution of Job Insecurity, 1966-86," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 437-458.
    6. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    7. Francis Green, 2003. "The Rise and Decline of Job Insecurity," Studies in Economics 0305, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    8. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    9. Origo, Federica & Pagani, Laura, 2009. "Flexicurity and job satisfaction in Europe: The importance of perceived and actual job stability for well-being at work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 547-555, October.
    10. Silvana Robone & Andrew Jones & Nigel Rice, 2011. "Contractual conditions, working conditions and their impact on health and well-being," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 12(5), pages 429-444, October.
    11. David Madden, 2010. "Gender Differences in Mental Well-Being: a Decomposition Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 101-114, October.
    12. Chris Forde & Gary Slater, 2005. "Agency Working in Britain: Character, Consequences and Regulation," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 249-271, June.
    13. Colin P. Green & John S. Heywood, 2011. "Flexible Contracts And Subjective Well‐Being," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 716-729, July.
    14. Vincenzo Carrieri & Cinzia Di Novi & Rowena Jacobs & Silvana Robone, 2012. "Well-being and psychological consequences of temporary contracts: the case of younger Italian employees," Working Papers 079cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wietzke, Frank-Borge, 2014. "Pathways from jobs to social cohesion," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6804, The World Bank.
    2. Minelli, Liliana & Pigini, Claudia & Chiavarini, Manuela & Bartolucci, Francesco, 2014. "Employment status and perceived health condition: longitudinal data from Italy," MPRA Paper 55788, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Auer, Wolfgang, 2015. "Health Consequences of Starting a Career on a Fixed-Term Contract," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113080, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Wolfgang Auer & Natalia Danzer, 2015. "Uncertainty in the labour market: How does fixed-term employment affect fertility and mental health of the young generation?," IBS Working Papers 6/2015, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.

    More about this item


    Temporary employment; well-being; job satisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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