Beyond income: Why we want to keep on working even if we don't need the money

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This research focuses upon non-financial work motivation against the background of the debate about the introduction of a basic income. We focus on work commitment; that is the question what binds workers to the employment system except for the wage. We argue that work commitment measures intrinsic work motivation, and that intrinsic work motivation is dependent on the extent to which paid work satisfies the human needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. Empirical analyses on ESS 2010 for 26 countries show that 55% of the European employees would go on working if means would allow not to and about 25% not. Workers who answer affirmatively work in jobs with high levels of autonomy, good development opportunities, and have co-worker support. Greater autonomy, not only in the job, but also in decisions about work times and the number of work hours, is associated with greater work commitment. Workers in temporary jobs and workers in financial problems have low work commitment. We conclude by arguing that the introduction of a basic income will increase work commitment, because it will relieve workers’ strains and stresses, and will be an incentive for employers to improve the quality of work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613–1635
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Early online date28-Apr-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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