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Amanda Foreman

Love Your Job? Thank Your Country

It is widely assumed that people in economically “advanced” countries do not differ significantly in how satisfied they are with their jobs. Because they are about equally productive, the reasoning is, they must produce things the same way, and so their work experience must be the same, too.

In fact, there are striking differences in job satisfaction within the West. The U.K., with very low wages relative to the country’s wealth, reports a pretty decent level of job satisfaction. Yet Germany, with its fairly high wages relative to wealth, reports an undistinguished level of job satisfaction -- below Italy and Spain.