Women more productive if work linked to social cause

image]Women draw greater satisfaction from contributing to a cause that they care about in their work than men, according to research to be presented at a major economics conference this week. Plus other news.

Women draw greater satisfaction from contributing to a cause that they care about in their work than men, according to research by Mirco Tonin and Michael Vlassopoulos.
Their study, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2010 annual conference this week, finds that women are 10% more productive when their work is directly linked to a social cause than when they have a similarly paid job in the private sector. But men show no difference in productivity.
This finding of a gender difference in motivation may help to explain some of the gender gap in earnings if women are instinctively more likely than men to enter careers that are directly involved with a social cause. Public and voluntary sector jobs in healthcare, education, etc. are typically less well paid than private sector jobs.
Understanding the sources of workers’ pro-social motivation also has implications for the policy debate on whether public services should be provided through the public sector, the for-profit private sector or the third sector.
Tories announce National Insurance savings
The Conservatives have announced plans to block some of the National Insurance tax rises proposed for next year and say they would benefit anyone earning up to £45,500.
Labour says it wants to see how the Tories would fund the savings.
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Flex workers ‘less unhappy when they lose their job’
Workers in permanent employment are less happy if they lose their job than those who have lost a job in flexible employment, according to new research.
The research by Colin Green and Gareth Leeves, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2010 annual conference, shows job loss has a far greater ‘scarring’’ effect on these workers, which continues long after the experience of unemployment has passed.
The study argues that the better experience of flexible workers may reflect their acceptance that work is only temporary, whereas permanent workers are far more shocked at the loss of a job. Examining data on Australia, where flexible working is widespread, the researchers find that flexible workers’ comparative optimism about unemployment appears to persist even when they find more permanent work.
The research is particularly relevant to the current discussions of ‘‘flexicurity’’, which aims to combine labour market flexibility with job security. The promotion of flexicurity is likely to result in greater use of flexible work contracts in OECD countries. This study suggests that as long as periods of unemployment remain brief, flexicurity policies in an environment with more flexible workers will not reduce workers’ wellbeing.
But the authors warn that in periods when fast transitions back from unemployment to employment are more difficult, flexicurity could dramatically diminish workers’ wellbeing even after people re-enter employment. This raises serious concerns if expansions of the use of flexible contracts are pursued by governments in periods of economic hardship.

Confidence ‘reduces negative impact of job loss’

If people are confident about the chances of them finding a job in the coming year then the negative effect of unemployment on their feelings of life satisfaction is cut by more than two thirds, according to research by Professor Francis Green, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2010 annual conference.
The study also shows that this positive effect on mental health is not restricted to the unemployed. People who are confident about finding an equally good job if they lose their current one experience half the negative effects of job insecurity on wellbeing compared with those with very low confidence about their job prospects.

Tories call for rethink on temporary workers legislation
Legislation which would give temporary workers the same rights as permanent staff should be debated again, according to the Conservatives who have expressed strong reservations.
The legislation is derived from the EU Agency Workers Directive and business leaders say it will harm the temping business, making it difficult to hire staff flexibly.
Under the legislation temporary workers would have the same rights as permanent staff after they have worked 12 weeks in a job.
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