International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Empirical Investigation of Autonomy and Motivation
Kameliia Petrova

I examine the hypothesis that employers give autonomy to workers who are already especially motivated. The empirical work is based on data from Wave 1 of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal study of health, retirement, and aging. The HRS provides unique information on an individual’s motives and autonomy on the job. I found empirical evidence that motivated workers are more likely than unmotivated to be in autonomous jobs, and that motivated workers receive higher wages in autonomous jobs. One implication of this result is that employers value motivated workers in autonomous jobs more highly than unmotivated workers in autonomous jobs, hence employers would be more willing to give autonomy to motivated people. The empirical findings, however, provide inconclusive evidence to determine the causality between autonomy and motivation.

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