Mine, yours or our problem? – Analysing the impact of unemployment on life satisfaction of couplesISER Internal Seminars

As already shown in the well-known Marienthal study in the 1930s, the resources and benefits linked to employment are manifold: Employed persons do not only profit from income, but also from important non-material benefits. On the contrary, unemployed individuals especially suffer from the absence of these non-material benefits and, hence, are less satisfied than the employed as numerous studies from different disciplines could show. Despite the relative wealth of insight into the consequences of unemployment, previous studies mainly only focused on the unemployed individual when analysing the interrelation of job loss and well-being, thereby usually neglecting possible crossover effects on other people’s well-being. This study specifically investigates the effect of an individual’s unemployment on the well-being of their partner. Using the longitudinal data (1984-2011) of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP) and applying fixed-effects panel regression, this study reveals that unemployment matters for both partners. Even after controlling for several work-related as well as family-related aspects, findings show a significant decrease in both partners’ life satisfaction. This is true for men and women, although the costs of unemployment seem to be higher if the male partner becomes unemployed. The findings highlight that previous studies underestimate the costs of unemployment as they do not account for potential consequences on the partner level.

Presented by:

Frederike Esche (DIW)

Date & time:

12 Jun 2013 12:00 pm

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