IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Heterogeneity in subjective wellbeing : an application to occupational allocation in Africa

  • Falco, Paolo
  • Maloney, William F.
  • Rijkers, Bob
  • Sarrias, Mauricio

Using an extraordinarily rich panel dataset from Ghana, this paper explores the nature of self-employment and informality in developing countries through the analysis of self-reported happiness with work and life. Subjective job satisfaction measures allow assessment of the relative desirability of different jobs in ways that, conditional wage comparisons cannot. By exploiting recent advances in mixed (random parameter) ordered probit models, the distribution of subjective well-being across sectors of employment is quantified. There is little evidence for the overall inferiority of the small firm informal sector: there is not a robust average satisfaction premium for formal work vs. self-employment or informal salaried work, and owners of informal firms that employ others are on average significantly happier than workers in the formal private sector. Moreover, the estimated distribution of parameters predicting satisfaction reveal substantial heterogeneity in subjective well-being within sectors that conventional fixed parameter models, such as standard ordered probit models, cannot detect: Whatever the average satisfaction premium in a sector, all job categories contain both relatively happy and disgruntled workers. Specifically, roughly 67, 50, 40 and 59 percent prefer being a small-firm employer, sole proprietor, informal salaried, civic worker respectively, than formal work. Hence, there is a high degree of overlap in the distribution of satisfaction across sectors. The results are robust to the inclusion of fixed effects and alternate measures of satisfaction. Job characteristics, self-perceived autonomy and experimentally elicited measures of attitudes toward risk do not appear to explain these distributional patterns.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2012/10/17/000158349_20121017155054/Rendered/PDF/wps6244.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6244.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6244
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  2. Cunningham, Wendy V. & Maloney, William F., 1998. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's micro-enterprises - an application of factor and cluster analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1999, The World Bank.
  3. Clark, A.E., 1995. "Job Satisfaction and Gender: Why Are Women so Happy at Work?," DELTA Working Papers 95-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Isabel Günther & Andrey Launov, 2007. "Competitive and Segmented Informal Labor Markets," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 153, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Måns Söderbom & Francis Teal & Anthony Wambugu & Godius Kahyarara, 2004. "The Dynamics of Returns to Education in Kenyan and Tanzanian Manufacturing," Development and Comp Systems 0409041, EconWPA.
  6. López Bóo, Florencia & Madrigal, Lucia & Pagés, Carmen, 2009. "Part-Time Work, Gender and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from a Developing Country," IZA Discussion Papers 3994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Matthias Benz & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 362-383, 05.
  8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Pradhan, M.P. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1993. "Formal and informal sector employment in urban areas of Bolivia," Discussion Paper 1993-11, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Richard B. Freeman, 1977. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," NBER Working Papers 0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Pradhan, M.P. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1997. "Household labor supply in urban areas of Bolivia," Other publications TiSEM dba82438-cf2e-4d92-975b-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. Das, J.W.M. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "A Panel Data Model for Subjective Information on Household Income Growth," Discussion Paper 1996-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William F., 2010. "Comparative analysis of labor market dynamics using Markov processes: An application to informality," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 621-631, August.
  15. Francis Teal & Justin Sandefur, 2010. "The Returns to Formality and Informality in Urban Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. William Greene, 2004. "The behaviour of the maximum likelihood estimator of limited dependent variable models in the presence of fixed effects," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 98-119, 06.
  17. Gong, Xiaodong & van Soest, Arthur, 2001. "Wage Differentials and Mobility in the Urban Labor Market: A Panel Data Analysis for Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 329, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Marcel Fafchamps & Mans Söderbom & Najy Benhassine, 2009. "Wage Gaps and Job Sorting in African Manufacturing," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(5), pages 824-868, November.
  19. Falco, Paolo & Kerr, Andrew & Rankin, Neil & Sandefur, Justin & Teal, Francis, 2011. "The returns to formality and informality in urban Africa," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S23-S31.
  20. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  21. Poschke, Markus, 2010. ""Entrepreneurs out of Necessity": A Snapshot," IZA Discussion Papers 4893, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Bhat, Chandra R., 2001. "Quasi-random maximum simulated likelihood estimation of the mixed multinomial logit model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 677-693, August.
  23. Abrevaya, Jason, 1997. "The equivalence of two estimators of the fixed-effects logit model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 41-43, August.
  24. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2011. "Will GDP Growth Increase Happiness in Developing Countries?," IZA Discussion Papers 5595, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, March.
  26. William H. Greene & David A. Hensher, 2010. "Ordered Choices and Heterogeneity in Attribute Processing," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 44(3), pages 331-364, September.
  27. Gindling, T. H. & Newhouse, David, 2012. "Self-employment in the developing world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6201, The World Bank.
  28. Mulinge, Munyae & Mueller, Charles W., 1998. "Employee job satisfaction in developing countries: The case of Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(12), pages 2181-2199, December.
  29. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  30. Gong, Xiaodong & Van Soest, Arthur & Villagomez, Elizabeth, 2004. "Mobility in the Urban Labor Market: A Panel Data Analysis for Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 1-36, October.
  31. Andrew E. Clark, 2004. "What makes a good job? Evidence from OECD countries," DELTA Working Papers 2004-28, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  32. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
  33. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
  34. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730, September.
  35. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
  36. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  37. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
  38. Carrington, William J & McCue, Kristin & Pierce, Brooks, 1996. "The Role of Employer-Employee Interactions in Labor Market Cycles: Evidence from the Self-Employed," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 571-602, October.
  39. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  40. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  41. Stefan Boes & Rainer Winkelmann, 2006. "The Effect of Income on Positive and Negative Subjective Well-Being," SOI - Working Papers 0605, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  42. Livingstone, Ian, 1991. "A reassessment of Kenya's rural and urban informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 651-670, June.
  43. Funkhouser, Edward, 1996. "The urban informal sector in Central America: Household survey evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(11), pages 1737-1751, November.
  44. David Hensher & William Greene, 2003. "The Mixed Logit model: The state of practice," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 133-176, May.
  45. Carmen Pagés-Serra & Lucía Madrigal, 2008. "Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality?: Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4122, Inter-American Development Bank.
  46. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  47. Benz, Matthias & Frey, Bruno S., 2008. "The value of doing what you like: Evidence from the self-employed in 23 countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 445-455, December.
  48. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6244. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.