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Author: Zak, Thomas A.
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1. Zak, Thomas A.
Earnings and Occupational Amenities
Ph.D. Dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1980
Cohort(s): Young Men
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Earnings; Occupational Attainment; Occupations; Working Conditions

This dissertation examines the role of nonpecuniary compensation for workers. The idea of higher wages compensating for onerous tasks is not new in economics literature but, until recently, very little empirical work was attempted in this area. Some factors which influence psychic income may be measurable. The statistical relationship between wages and job characteristics may indicate the marginal evaluation that people place on different features of the quality of life as reflected in job related factors. Such valuations are known as hedonic wages. Job characteristic variables from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles are introduced into reduced form wage equations containing personal characteristics from the NLS to provide hedonic wage estimates. A statistically significant negative job characteristic coefficient implies that workers accept lower pecuniary compensation in jobs containing the condition of an occupational amenity. A disamenity, however, requires additional monetary compensation to induce workers to undertake these tasks and is indicated by a positive coefficient. Hedonic wage equations estimated across all occupations yield weak and misleading results. Personal characteristics, for the most part, determine the occupational opportunity set to which an individual has access; but many personal attributes remain unmeasured. Segmentation into five groups of occupations produces mixed results. Compared to estimates across all occupations, each subset of occupations has far fewer "wrong signed" coefficients. Three occupational groups including jobs characteristics has very little effect. The most encouraging results come from the professions. Both the increase in explanatory power and changes in personal characteristic coefficients indicate that psychic income plays a major role in these occupations. Regressionsbased on laborers also produce interesting results, with positive compensating differentials for a number of conditions believed to be onerous.
Bibliography Citation
Zak, Thomas A. Earnings and Occupational Amenities. Ph.D. Dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1980.