Publications

Martin Binder

  • Working Paper No. 997 | December 2021
    We analyze the extent to which occupational identity is conducive to worker well-being. Using a unique survey dataset of individuals working in the German skilled crafts and trades (2017–18, n=757), we use a novel occupational identity measure that captures identity more broadly than just referring to organizational identification and social group membership, but rather comprises personal and relational elements inherent in one’s work. The latter are linked to significant social interactions a worker has in their job and the former to specific work characteristics of the work conducted itself. We find that higher job satisfaction is related to a stronger sense of occupational identity in our sample. This relationship is quite sizable and robust across model specifications, whereas income is not associated with job satisfaction in most models. Occupational identity is positively associated with a number of work characteristics, viz. task significance, task and skill variety, as well as social support, and our analysis shows that identity mediates the influence of these characteristics with regard to job satisfaction.

  • Working Paper No. 809 | June 2014

    Work and life satisfaction depends on a number of pecuniary and nonpecuniary factors at the workplace and determines these in turn. We analyze these causal linkages using a structural vector autoregression approach for a sample of the German working populace collected from 1984 to 2008, finding that workplace autonomy plays an important causal role in determining well-being.

  • Working Paper No. 808 | June 2014
    A Quantile Approach

    Unemployment has been robustly shown to strongly decrease subjective well-being (or “happiness”). In the present paper, we use panel quantile regression techniques in order to analyze to what extent the negative impact of unemployment varies along the subjective well-­being distribution. In our analysis of British Household Panel Survey data (1996–2008) we find that, over the quantiles of our subjective well-being variable, individuals with high well-­being suffer less from becoming unemployed. A similar but stronger effect of unemployment is found for a broad mental well-being variable (GHQ-12). For happy and mentally stable individuals, it seems their higher well-being acts like a safety net when they become unemployed. We explore these findings by examining the heterogeneous unemployment effects over the quantiles of satisfaction with various life domains.

  • Working Paper No. 800 | May 2014

    Behavioral economics has shown that individuals sometimes make decisions that are not in their best interests. This insight has prompted calls for behaviorally informed policy interventions popularized under the notion of “libertarian paternalism.” This type of “soft” paternalism aims at helping individuals without reducing their freedom of choice. We highlight three problems of libertarian paternalism: the difficulty of detecting what is in the best interest of an individual, the focus on freedom of choice at the expense of a focus on autonomy, and the neglect of the dynamic effects of libertarian-paternalistic policy interventions. We present a form of soft paternalism called “autonomy-enhancing paternalism” that seeks to constructively remedy these problems. Autonomy-enhancing paternalism suggests using insights from subjective well-being research in order to determine what makes individuals better off. It imposes an additional constraint on the set of permissible interventions highlighting the importance of autonomy in the sense of the capability to make critically reflected (i.e., autonomous) decisions. Finally, it acknowledges that behavioral interventions can change the strength of individual decision-making anomalies over time as well as influence individual preference learning. We illustrate the differences between libertarian paternalism and autonomy-enhancing paternalism in a simple formal model in the context of optimal sin nudges.

Publication Highlight

Public Policy Brief No. 156
Still Flying Blind after All These Years
The Federal Reserve’s Continuing Experiments with Unobservables
Author(s): Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, L. Randall Wray
December 2021

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