Your browser does not support JavaScript!

Sorting, Social Comparison and Women’s Job Satisfaction

digital Sorting, Social Comparison and Women’s Job Satisfaction
section Open Access
title Sorting, Social Comparison and Women’s Job Satisfaction

publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 06-2020
doi 10.26350/000518_000041
issn 0035-676X (print) | 1827-7918 (digital)

Ebook format Pdf readable on these devices:

Using linked employer-employee data for the UK we address competing explanations for gender gaps in job satisfaction. Previous studies have rationalized the puzzling greater satisfaction of women either by pointing out gender differences in competitive attitudes, or through differences in sorting across jobs and industries. Our data allow us to test both explanations within a unified framework. The  employer-employee structure of the data enables us to control for workplace unobserved heterogeneity that drives sorting. Moreover, we exploit information on workplace average wages to investigate workers’ attitudes through the framework of social comparison within the firm. We show that while social comparison matters empirically, gender differences in social comparison are not enough to account for job satisfaction gaps. Instead, controlling for workplace heterogeneity resolves the puzzle, lending support to the sorting hypothesis.


Job satisfaction, Gender, Social comparison, Firms, Linked employer-employee data.

Authors biography

Margherita Agnoletto, Catholic University of Milan. Email:; Lorenzo Cappellari, Department of Economics and Finance, Catholic University of Milan. Email:; Astrid Gamba, Department of Economics, University of Insubria. Email: