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Millennials' Public Service Motivation and Sector Choice: A Panel Study of Job Entrants in Germany

PAQ, Vol. 40 No. 3, (2016)

The construct of public service motivation (PSM) has gained a lot of attention as a motivational force for joining the public sector. However, since its introduction by Perry and Wise (1990), research based on longitudinal data linking PSM with actual behavior, i.e. joining the public sector, has remained scarce, particularly with respect to Germany. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (N = 672), we found PSM to be a relatively weak job preference. However, for Millennial job entrants, PSM was a significant antecedent of having chosen the public sector, even when controlling for other job preferences (material aspects, low work strain, and intrinsic job motivation). Further, women in our sample were more likely to have joined the public sector than men. This study therefore provides evidence for positive effects of PSM on public sector choice in the German Millennial generation. Limitations and avenues for further research are discussed, and implications of the results are illustrated.

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