Job Satisfaction and Promotions



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    •  The author’s affiliation is Department of Economics, Cleveland State University. E-mail: I would like to thank participants at the Northeast Ohio Economics Workshop and the Midwest Economics Association meetings for their helpful comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are mine.


This paper estimates the impact of promotions and promotion expectations on job satisfaction using the 1996–2006 waves of the NLSY79 dataset. Having received a promotion in the past 2 years leads to increased job satisfaction, even while controlling for the worker’s current wage, wage rank within her peer group, and wage growth. Workers who believe a promotion is possible in the next 2 years also report higher job satisfaction. Additionally, past promotions have a lingering, but fading impact on job satisfaction.