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Comparing levels of job satisfaction in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe

Borooah, Vani (2009): Comparing levels of job satisfaction in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe. Published in: International Journal of Manpower , Vol. 30, No. 4 (2009): pp. 304-325.

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Against the plethora of studies of the factors influencing job satisfaction, this paper makes three contributions. First, in contrast to most studies of job satisfaction which are country-specific, the scope of this paper extends to 33 different countries. Comparing different countries on the basis of their mean job satisfaction scores ignores inequality in the distribution of scores between the countries’ individual respondents: the paper’s second contribution is to construct “equity-sensitive” job satisfaction scores for each country and, using these indicators, to compare their achievements with respect to job satisfaction. The third purpose of the paper is to answer the question posed in the title. The reason that West European countries have higher levels of job satisfaction compared to East European countries could, in part, be because they are better endowed with the “attributes” that promote job satisfaction; it could also, in part, be due to the “responses” of workers in West European countries, to a given set of attributes, being more conducive to job satisfaction than the corresponding responses of workers in East European countries. In this paper we estimate the relative importance of attributes and coefficients in determining differences in levels of job satisfaction between the two sets of countries. We do this by using the estimates from an ordered logit model to decompose the probability of being at a particular level of satisfaction into its “attributes” and “coefficients” parts. The empirical foundation for the study is provided by data for over 20,000 employed respondents, pertaining to the year 2000, obtained from the 1999-2002 Values Survey Integrated Data File.

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