Extrinsic Motivation, PSM and Labour Market Characteristics: A Multilevel Model of Public Sector Preference in 26 Countries

International Review of Administrative Sciences, 81(4): 833-855, 2015

33 Pages Posted: 22 May 2014 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018

See all articles by Steven Van de Walle

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Bram Steijn

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences

Sebastian Jilke

Rutgers University-Newark

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Research findings have been contradictory with respect to the determinants of why people choose a public sector job. In this paper we use an internationally comparative design with data from 26 countries to explain public sector employment preference. The study shows that on the individual level public service motivation and extrinsic motivation both are important drivers for this preference. Intrinsic motivation, in turn, is negatively related with people's inclination to work for the public sector. Moreover, having a lower income and lower education is associated with a greater preference for public sector employment. This suggests that working for the public sector is seen as a good and safe career option. Our results furthermore show that variation in this preference can only partly be explained by country differences. Nevertheless, in countries with a career - rather than position-based system of public employment people are more likely to prefer public employment.

Points for Practitioners: Attracting the best and brightest to work for the public sector requires an insight into why people prefer public over private sector employment. This paper looks at what makes people prefer public sector employment in 26 countries. Findings reveal that public service motivation (helping other people, being useful to society) and extrinsic motives (job security, a high income, opportunities for advancement) play an important role in this preference. Still, there are considerable differences between countries. In countries with a career-based system of public employment, working in the public sector is seen as more attractive.

Keywords: public service motivation, work motives, work values, public sector sorting, public employment

JEL Classification: D73, H10, H11, J00, J45

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven and Steijn, Bram and Jilke, Sebastian, Extrinsic Motivation, PSM and Labour Market Characteristics: A Multilevel Model of Public Sector Preference in 26 Countries (2015). International Review of Administrative Sciences, 81(4): 833-855, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2439593

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

Bram Steijn

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 4082634 (Phone)
+31 10 4089099 (Fax)

Sebastian Jilke (Contact Author)

Rutgers University-Newark ( email )

111 Washington Street
Center for Urban and Public Service
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sebastianjilke.net

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
271
rank
105,652
Abstract Views
1,443
PlumX Metrics