Workplace Conditions and the Subjective Well-Being of British Workers: The Interactive Role of Income Inequality and the Size of Firms

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Tom LANGFORD, University of Calgary, Canada
Josh CURTIS, University of Calgary, Canada

Using merged data from the 2004 and 2011 series of the British Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) for both employees and employers, we explore how workplace conditions affect the subjective well-being of British workers. Previous studies have shown how income inequality measured at the national-level has a substantial impact on the subjective well-being of citizens. However, research has yet to apply the same logic to a workplace-level analysis. To fill this gap, using hierarchical models, with employees clustered within workplaces, we explore how within-workplace income inequality – measured by the Gini Coefficient – interacts with firm size to affect the subjective well-being of workers. Paralleling the results for research on geographical units of different sizes (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010: 27-28), we anticipate that within-workplace income inequality will have a negative net effect on workers’ subjective well-being in larger firms, but little or no effect in smaller firms.


Wilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett, 2010. The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London: Penguin Books.