Satisfaction with job and income among older individuals across European countries

Using data on individuals of 50 and older from 11 European countries, we analyze two economic aspects of subjective well-being of older Europeans: satisfaction with household income, and job satisfaction. Both have been shown to contribute substantially to overallwell-being (satisfaction with life or happiness). We use anchoring vignettes to correct for potential differences in response scales across countries.The results highlight a large variation in self-reported income satisfaction, which is partly explained by differences in response scales. When differences in response scales are eliminated, the cross country differences are quite well in line with differences in an objective measure of purchasing power of household income. Correcting for differences in response scales also alters the ranking across countries.Older workers in Europe are generally satisfied with their jobs and cross-country differences in job satisfaction are not as large as for income satisfaction. Being able to develop new skills and having job advancement opportunities contribute substantially to jobsatisfaction, though recognition for the job is the most important factor. Keeping job characteristics as well as response scales constant, Swedish workers are more satisfied than workers in all other countries considered, possibly due to a more positive attitude of employers towards older workers in Sweden than elsewhere.There are common features in the response scale differences in job satisfaction and income satisfaction. French respondents tend to be critical in both assessments, while Danish and Dutch respondents are always on the optimistic end of the spectrum. Moreover, correcting for DIF decreases the cross-country association between average income and job satisfaction among workers.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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