Reported Job Satisfaction: What Does it Mean?

29 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 1997

See all articles by Louis Levy Garboua

Louis Levy Garboua

Universite de Paris I (CES) - Paris School of Economics, and CIRANO

Claude Montmarquette

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Date Written: December 1996

Abstract

By reporting his satisfaction with his job or any other experience, an individual does not communicate the number of utils that he felt. Instead, he expresses his posterior preference over available alternatives conditional on acquired knowledge of the past. This new interpretation of reported job satisfaction restores the power of microeconomic theory without denying the essential role of discrepancies between one's situation and available opportunities. Posterior human wealth discrepancies are found to be the best predictor of reported job satisfaction. Static models of relative utility and other subjective well-being assumptions are all unambiguously rejected by the data, as well as an "economic" model in which job satisfaction is a measure of posterior human wealth. The "posterior choice" model readily explains why so many persons usually report themselves as happy or satisfied, why both younger and older age groups are insensitive to current earning discrepancies, and why the past weighs more heavily than the present and the future.

JEL Classification: J28, J29, C35

Suggested Citation

Levy Garboua, Louis and Montmarquette, Claude, Reported Job Satisfaction: What Does it Mean? (December 1996). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=40001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.40001

Louis Levy Garboua

Universite de Paris I (CES) - Paris School of Economics, and CIRANO ( email )

106/112 boulevard de l'Hopital
Paris Cedex 13, 75647
France
33 (0) 1 44 07 82 45 (Phone)
33 (0)1 44 07 82 47 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://team.univ-paris1.fr/teamperso/levygarb/louis.htm

Claude Montmarquette (Contact Author)

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO) ( email )

2020 rue University, 25th Floor
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada
(514) 985-4015 (Phone)
(514) 985-4039 (Fax)

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