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Older workers’ wage demands: relationships with the quantity and quality of work motivation.

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Abstract

The present study investigates the role of work motivation in explaining older workers wage demands. Relying on Expectancy-Value Theory and Self-Determination Theory we identify aspects of the quantity (the overall valence attached to working and expectations concerning the feasibility of working) and quality (the type of aspired work goals and reasons for engaging in work) of older workers’ work motivation and empirically investigate relationships with their wage demands. Analyses on large sample of 1 782 workers aged 50 or more indicate that aspects describing the quantity or intensity of work motivation are differentially related to wage demands. Attaching high valence to work is negatively related to wage demands, whereas having strong expectations about being able to find another job is associated with higher wage demands. In addition, also the type of work goals one aspire matters: aspiring intrinsic work goals is associated with lower wage demands. Finally, we find interaction effects between both qualitative dimensions and between the value attached to working and engaging in work for autonomous reasons. These results show that differences in wage demands among older workers can be better understood by taking into account the quantity and quality of their work motivation.

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