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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Non-pecuniary Work Incentive and Labor Supply


Recognizing that people value employment not only to earn income to satisfy their consumption needs, but also as a means to gain socio-psychological (nonpecuniary) benefits, we show that once nonpecuniary work incentives are incorporated into standard labor supply theory, (i) the wage rate under-estimates (over-estimates) the true value of nonwork/leisure time when work has nonpecuniary benefits (costs), (ii) nonpecuniary benefits can be a substitute for monetary wages as work incentives,(iii) at very low wage rates, work can become a net wource of utiltiy, and (iv) the shape of labor supply curve differs from standard theory. We also indentify conditions under which a greater nonpecuniary work incentive generates a larger individual labor supply, and examine the effects of non-wage income on labor supply both for paid and voluntary work.

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