The Curious Case of the Post-9-11 Boost in Government Job Satisfaction

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15 Scopus citations


Government job satisfaction has been shown to reflect individual, job and organizational characteristics, but important national crises or events that dramatically alter the image of public service in society and the meaning of work in the public sector may also play a role. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, are an important example, yet it is not known how the attacks and their aftermath may have influenced the everyday job satisfaction of government workers in the United States. Using a difference-in-difference regression strategy and data from the General Social Survey, this study compares change in job satisfaction of government workers to that of private sector workers before and after the attacks. The findings indicate that 9-11 may have boosted government job satisfaction 5 to 10 percentage points, representing 1 to 2 million additional satisfied government workers in the United States. Thus important national crises may causally influence government job satisfaction in nontrivial ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


  • emergency management
  • job satisfaction
  • organizational behavior
  • public-private differences
  • work context


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