Is Women's Job Satisfaction Higher than Men's? Self-Selection, Expectations or Utility Function
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ABSTRACT: This paper examines the paradox between high relative levels of job satisfaction and the characteristics of women's jobs compared to men's in Spain. Three hypothesis are considered: i) the existence of a selection bias when participating in the labour market; ii) of the presence of adaptive job satisfaction; and iii) the existence of differences related to preferences of different nature to strictly labour issues. The study shows that, although having lower working conditions, women are more likely to be satisfied at work than men are. This paradox persists regardless of the inclusion of a great range of variables of different nature (objective and subjective), the age group and educational level under consideration. The Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition suggests that women's preferences are actually influencing the differences in job satisfaction. However, it is not demonstrated that these differences disappear as age decreases or educational level increases. The probable existence of a "glass ceiling" that prevents women from having access to posts of greater responsibility and higher wages could cause that women who actually reach them are more satisfied than their male colleagues. As the labour market and society become more equal, this paradox might dilute.
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