Job Satisfaction and Regime Change: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
International Public Management Journal, 19(3): 370-396, 2016
32 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018
Date Written: 2015
Little is known about the effects of regime change on government workers' job satisfaction. Conventional theories of work satisfaction have identified various individual or organisational antecedents of public employees' well-being in many different contexts. In this study, we add an additional level of analysis to the study of job satisfaction. The German reunification in 1990 constitutes a natural experiment, where public employees' institutional work environment changed dramatically. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we show that after the reunification East German public employees who stayed in their jobs experienced a 'satisfaction shock' by substantially decreasing their levels of job satisfaction. This finding is in line with what has been labelled as survivor syndrome in the general management literature. We also find that after three years' time, differences in satisfaction levels between East and West Germans reverted to pre-reunion levels. These findings are robust to various model specifications and alternative estimators. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
Keywords: German Reunification, Job Satisfaction, Job Security, Organisational Reorganisation, Regime Change, Survivor Syndrome, Natural Experiment, Work Attitudes
JEL Classification: A1, A10, D73, E60, H00, H40, I10, I18, J78, L30, L31, L32, L33, L39, M00, D71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation