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The happy artist? An empirical application of the work-preference model


Steiner, Lasse; Schneider, Lucian (2011). The happy artist? An empirical application of the work-preference model. Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 37, University of Zurich.

Abstract

The artistic labor market is marked by several adversities, such as low wages, above-average unemployment, and constrained underemployment. Nevertheless, it attracts many young people. The number of students exceeds the available jobs by far. A potential explanation for this puzzle is that artistic work might result in exceptionally high job satisfaction, a conjecture that has been mentioned at various times in the literature. We conduct the first direct empirical investigation of artists’ job satisfaction. The analysis is based on panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP). Artists on average are found to be considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists, a finding that corroborates the conjectures in the literature. Differences in income, working hours, and personality cannot account for the observed difference in job satisfaction. Partially, but not fully, the higher job satisfaction can be attributed to the higher self-employment rate among artists. Suggestive evidence is found that superior “procedural” characteristics of artistic work, such as increased variety and on-the-job learning, contribute to the difference in job satisfaction.

The artistic labor market is marked by several adversities, such as low wages, above-average unemployment, and constrained underemployment. Nevertheless, it attracts many young people. The number of students exceeds the available jobs by far. A potential explanation for this puzzle is that artistic work might result in exceptionally high job satisfaction, a conjecture that has been mentioned at various times in the literature. We conduct the first direct empirical investigation of artists’ job satisfaction. The analysis is based on panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP). Artists on average are found to be considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists, a finding that corroborates the conjectures in the literature. Differences in income, working hours, and personality cannot account for the observed difference in job satisfaction. Partially, but not fully, the higher job satisfaction can be attributed to the higher self-employment rate among artists. Suggestive evidence is found that superior “procedural” characteristics of artistic work, such as increased variety and on-the-job learning, contribute to the difference in job satisfaction.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:Z10, J24, J28, J31
Language:English
Date:October 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:08
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
ISSN:1664-7041
Additional Information:Wurde auch als SOEPpapers 2012 veröffentlicht: http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=392828
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51541

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