Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2-18-09: Does Job Satisfaction Lead to Greater Philanthropy?

I had a thought the other day while watching a video from Robert Shiller's "Financial Markets" online lecture series from Open Yale Courses. Shiller stressed the importance of philanthropy for those who do extremely well in life. He summed it up as "You can only consume so much money, so you might as well give most of it away."

I agree with that mentality, but thought that there might also be a connection between job satisfaction and philanthropy. I was working some overtime this past weekend, and will get a little more money in the next paycheck as a result. And, I didn't mind working the OT.

So, let's say some one works an average of 5 hours of (paid) overtime per week. That would work out to 260 hours over the course of the year, which is 6.5 more weeks of pay compared to the person who never works an hour of overtime, or 13% more time worked. This is also assuming it's straight pay and not "time and a half" or "double time" pay. Let's also assume that 5 hours per week is negligible, though that's not quite true realistically.

Now let's make the connection of job satisfaction. One could say that people who are more satisfied with their jobs are "glad" to put in the extra work. They may enjoy the challenge of their job or just don't mind putting the extra time in to get the job done. So, satisfied employees tend to work more overtime, in general. That, however, does not mean people who hate their job don't work overtime. A lot of overtime worked is mandatory.

The big leap in logic is probably that people who don't mind working a little extra would be more likely to donate their extra earnings. Let's say, for argument's sake, they don't donate all of the 13% extra pay. Let's say it's half: 6.5%. That 6.5% extra pay is money they earned, but might not need. There are, of course, other factors that go into how much a person donates, including income level, standard of living, religious beliefs, and several others. But let's just say job satisfaction has something to do with it.

I'm not trying to prove anything, just thinking. I think it's plausible that there is some connection between job satisfaction and philanthropy. One could say that, in the opposite case, that people who hate their job might feel that any overtime pay is theirs to keep because they see it as a symbol of time wasted. Some one who didn't mind putting the extra time in might just see it as an added bonus to the job. There's some psychology involved.

Anyway, just a thought. And on a semi-related note, check out these other Open Yale Courses:

Game Theory with Professor Ben Polak

Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics with Professor Charles Bailyn

Introduction to Ancient Greek History with Professor Donald Kagan

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