IZA DP No. 1558: Low Pay, Higher Pay and Job Satisfaction within the European Union: Empirical Evidence from Fourteen Countries
We examine differences in job satisfaction between low- and higher-paid workers within the European Union (EU). To do so The European Community Household Panel Data covering the period 1994-2001 is used. Our results indicate that low paid workers report a lower level of job satisfaction when compared with their higher paid counterparts in most countries, except in the UK. This supports the idea that low-wage employment in these countries mainly comprises low quality. The results also indicate that gap in average job satisfaction between low- and higher-paid workers is markedly wider in the Southern European countries than in the rest of EU. Finally, there are significant differences in the determinants of job satisfaction across countries. It seems then that a homogeneous policy may be inappropriate to increase satisfaction, and hence labour productivity, in the EU as a whole. Hence, an improvement of the quality of the jobs in the EU may require different policies. In particular, in some countries such as the United Kingdom removing low employment, namely through regulation, may worsen the workers’ well-being, although in other cases such a policy may lead to a totally different outcome.