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Socio-Economic Differences in the Satisfaction of High-Pay and Low-Pay Jobs in Europe

Abstract

This paper investigates whether any significant differences in the job satisfaction of high- and low-paid workers exist in eleven European labour markets. Using data from six waves (1996-2001) of the ECHP, it is shown that low-paid employees are significantly less satisfied with their jobs compared to the high-paid in the periphery of Southern European countries, as opposed to those in the North. This evidence suggests that in the face of an increasing flexibility in labour markets, low-paid jobs in the EU are not inevitably of low quality, though in some countries low-wage workers have experienced the full brunt of both lower-paid and bad quality jobs. For these countries policies that centre on the quality of work are essential. Evidence indicates that the cross-country differences reflect the disparate manner with which the flexibility-security nexus has been confronted.job satisfaction, low pay, job quality, Europe, flexicurity

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