Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable
NBER Working Paper No. 225
The purpose of this paper is to examine these concerns and evaluate the use of job satisfaction (and other subjective variables) in labor market analysis. The main theme is that, while there are good reasons to treat subjective variables gingerly, the answers to questions about how people feel toward their job are not meaningless but rather convey useful information about economic life that should not be ignored. The paper begins with a brief description of the satisfaction questions on major worker surveys, and then considers the use of satisfaction as an independent and as a dependent variable. Satisfaction is shown to be a major determinant of labor market mobility, in part it is argued because it reflects aspects of the work place not captured by standard objective variable8. Satisfaction is also found to depend anomolously on some economic variables (such as unionism) in ways that provide insight into how those factors affect people.
Published: Freeman, R. B. "Job Satisfaction As An Economic Variable," American Economic Review, 1978, v68(2), 135-141.