Is There a Happiness Premium for Working in the Public Sector? Evidence from Italy

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, volume 97, April 2022, 101841

45 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 25 Feb 2022

See all articles by Alessandro Bucciol

Alessandro Bucciol

University of Verona - Department of Economics; Netspar

Giovanni Burro

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Date Written: January 27, 2022

Abstract

Is there a happiness premium for working in the public sector? We explore this question using a large sample of Italian employees from 2004 to 2016. We find that happiness increases with economic status. Public employees enjoy a happiness premium compared to private employees, but only if they are of low economic status. Depending on the definition of economic status, their happiness gain is able to compensate half or all the gap these individuals face with respect to private employees of medium economic status. Our findings add to the relatively scant empirical literature on psychological well-being and public employment.

Keywords: Happiness, Public employment, Economic status, Wellbeing

JEL Classification: D90, I31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bucciol, Alessandro and Burro, Giovanni, Is There a Happiness Premium for Working in the Public Sector? Evidence from Italy (January 27, 2022). Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, volume 97, April 2022, 101841, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3802381 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3802381

Alessandro Bucciol

University of Verona - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Cantarane 24
Verona, 37129
Italy
+39 045.802.8278 (Phone)
+39 045.802.8529 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sites.google.com/site/abucciol/

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Giovanni Burro (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Bergheimer Str. 58
Heidelberg, 69115
Germany

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