NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable

Richard B. Freeman

NBER Working Paper No. 225
Issued in December 1977
NBER Program(s):   LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0225

Published: Freeman, R. B. "Job Satisfaction As An Economic Variable," American Economic Review, 1978, v68(2), 135-141. citation courtesy of

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