IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Workers Enjoy Procedural Utility?


  • Matthias Benz
  • Alois Stutzer


People are likely to obtain utility not only from actual outcomes, but also from the conditions which lead to these outcomes. This paper empirically tests the notion of procedural utility for the context of work relationships. Using a large survey among British workers, we find substantial procedural effects on the utility workers derive from their pay. Utility from pay is not only strongly influenced by economic outcomes (the pay levels workers get for given inputs), but also by the way pay is determined. The findings are robust to a series of alternative explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Do Workers Enjoy Procedural Utility?," IEW - Working Papers 127, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:127

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon G├Ąchter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    3. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    4. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    5. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    8. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    9. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    10. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    11. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-1946, December.
    12. Marc Le Menestrel, 2001. "A Process Approach to the Utility for Gambling," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 249-262, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Borzaga & Ermanno Tortia, 2004. "Worker involvement in entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations. Toward a new assessment of workers' perceived satisfaction and fairness," Department of Economics Working Papers 0409, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    2. Ermanno Tortia, 2006. "Worker satisfaction and perceived fairness: result of a survey in public, and non-profit organizations," Department of Economics Working Papers 0604, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

    More about this item


    outcome utility; procedural utility; pay procedure; work relationship; pay satisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:127. 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: (Marita Kieser). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.