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The determinants of job satisfaction are estimated from difference equations using four waves of the British Household Panel Study. We find that those moving into union jobs report a drop in overall job satisfaction and those moving into the public sector an increase. This finding reduces the likelihood that cross-sectional results showing lower overall job satisfaction for union members and higher satisfaction for public sector workers reflect individual-specific effects (endogeneity). However, we find that cross-sectional results on satisfaction with the working environment and with pay do, indeed, reflect individual-specific effects. Our difference equations indicate that while union workers complain more about these aspects, they would complain more in either sector. Further, our results suggest public sector workers are by nature more satisfied with their pay.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.68

Recommended Citation

Heywood, J. S., Siebert, W. S., & Wei, X. (1997). Are union jobs worse?: Are government jobs better? (CPPS Working Papers Series no.68). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: