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CEP discussion paper

Willing to pay for security: a discrete choice experiment to analyse labour supply preferences


This paper investigates the extent to which labour supply preferences are responsible for the marked rise in atypical work arrangements in the UK and US. By employing vignettes in a discrete job choice experiment in a representative survey, I estimate the distribution for preferences and willingness-to-pay over various job attributes. The list of attributes includes key distinguishing factors of typical and atypical work arrangements, such as security, work-related benefits, flexibility, autonomy and taxation implications. The results are indicative that the majority of the population prefer characteristics associated with traditional employee-employer relationships, and this preference holds even when analysing just the sub-sample of those in atypical work arrangements. Additionally, preferences across the UK and US are very similar, despite differences in labour market regulations. Rather than suggesting that labour supply preferences have contributed to the increase in atypical work arrangements, I find that the changing nature of work is likely to have significant negative welfare implications for many workers.


Nikhil Datta

2 July 2019     Paper Number CEPDP1632

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.