Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

What has been happening to the quality of workers' lives in Britain?

By Jonathan Gardner and Andrew J. Oswald


This paper studies workers’ lives in modern Britain. It uses longitudinal data to examine stress and job satisfaction through the decade of the 1990s. The results are disturbing. On both measures, the wellbeing of British public sector workers worsened sharply over the decade. The size of the deterioration was between one half point and one full point on a standard GHQ mental stress scale. This is remarkably large. Stress levels among private sector employees also rose. Job satisfaction in the private sector ran approximately flat through time. These findings may be of interest to nations who are thinking of adopting the British government’s policies towards the public sector, and to those who have conjectured that working life is becoming more pressurised

Topics: HD
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1999). A review of sample attrition and representativeness in three longitudinal surveys", Office for National Statistics,
  2. (1975). A statistical model for the analysis of ordinal-level dependent variables." doi
  3. (1997). Back to Bentham? Explorations of experienced utility." doi
  4. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence." doi
  5. (1998). Does it pay to work in the public sector?" doi
  6. (2000). Econometric Analysis. 4th ed. London: Prentice-Hall,
  7. (1977). Economic aspects of job satisfaction."
  8. (1999). Editorial: Will the NHS pay awards help recruitment." doi
  9. (1997). Happiness and economic performance." doi
  10. (2001). Happiness and Economics. doi
  11. (1980). Human satisfactions and public policy." doi
  12. (2001). Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions." doi
  13. (2001). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory" doi
  14. (1978). Job satisfaction as an economic variable." doi
  15. (1997). Measuring Health: A Review of Quality of Life Scales. 2nd ed. doi
  16. (1998). Psychological morbidity and job satisfaction in hospital consultants and junior house officers: multi-centre, cross sectional survey." doi
  17. (1998). Research excellence and departmental climate in British Universities", working paper, doi
  18. (2001). The changing distribution of job satisfaction." doi
  19. (1999). The payment of public sector workers in the UK: Reconciliation with North American findings." doi
  20. (2000). Trends. London: Office for National Statistics,
  21. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment." doi
  22. (1999). Well-being and the workplace." In Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology,edited by
  23. (2000). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA", working paper, NBER working paper, doi
  24. (1996). What has been happening to pay in the public-service sector of the British economy? Developments over the period 1970-1992." doi
  25. (1996). What has happened to union recognition in Britain?" doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.