Unpriced Job Amenities

I really like knowing the formal words for things.  I think it's because I get in a lot of arguments where I'm trying to defend the legitimacy of something outside the usual range of presumed value, and when I can give a phrase that connects to a body of research, it's harder for the person I'm arguing with to shut me down as arguing about irrelevant or nonsensical positions. For example, I frequently argue with my father about whether I should pursue the highest possible paying job, as a stepping stone to even better paying jobs, or whether I should pursue a job I like, as a stepping stone to jobs I'll like even more.

It turns out, there's a name for the thing I'm pursuing.  It's called Unpriced Job Amenities, and American economic theory is generally really bad about acknowledging them.  This excerpt is from an article on Slate, The Neglected Economics of Trying To Find a Job You Enjoy Doing:

We have a stylized fact whereby as a society gets richer, its citizens should be expected to consume more leisure at the margin. And indeed we see that over time hours worked has tended to fall in rich countries.

In that case what you see is that wages (how much do you earn per hour) rise faster than incomes (how much do you earn per year) because higher wages in part induce less work. But that's driven by a very simplistic picture of the economy, where you're either working on the assembly line (earning wages) or at home watching TV (enjoying leisure). Another thing people can do is deliberately earn lower wages in order to obtain better job amenities. [...]

That's really the same kind of leisure/income tradeoff as you see if workers cut back their hours, but it'll show up differently in national statistics. Instead of wages and productivity rising while income stays flat and hours fall, you'll see hours stay flat while wages and productivity fall.

(emphasis mine)

I'm thrilled I've discovered this phrase, and will absolutely be reading the linked research paper, Match Quality with Unpriced Amenities.