Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/215519
Authors: 
Nikolova, Milena
Cnossen, Femke
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
GLO Discussion Paper 509
Abstract: 
We demonstrate why meaningful work, i.e. job-related activities that individuals view as purposeful and worthwhile, matters to labour economists. Building on self-determination theory, which specifies the roles of autonomy, competence, and relatedness as preconditions for motivation, we are the first to explore the determinants of work meaningfulness. Specifically, using three waves of the European Working Conditions Survey, we show that autonomy, competence, and relatedness explain about 60 percent of the variation in work meaningfulness perceptions. Meanwhile, extrinsic factors, such as income, benefits, and performance pay, are relatively unimportant. Meaningful work also predicts absenteeism, skills training, and retirement intentions, which highlights the concept's economic significance. We provide new insights that could help organise the future of work in a meaningful and dignifying way and propose concrete avenues for future research on meaningful work in economics.
Subjects: 
meaningful work
motivation
non-monetary benefits of work
labour economics
labour market outcomes
self-determination theory
JEL: 
J01
J30
J32
J81
I30
I31
M50
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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