Research Paper CHIMERA Working Papers 2006-04
Social capital, quality of life, employment and ICTs
This paper analyses the effects of social capital and aspects of quality of life and ICT skills and usage on the chances of gaining employment and, conversely, on the durations of unemployment spells. Further, it analyses the effects of gaining employment and of unemployment durations on social capital and quality of life in the UK. To do this we use two longitudinal household panel datasets - the 14 wave British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the 2 wave e-Living survey. Whilst the former provides extensive information on social capital and quality of life, the latter
focuses on ICTs. We therefore use the BHPS to develop a comprehensive model linking social capital, quality of life and employment but use e-Living to model the relationship between these and ICT usage. We then apply the BHPS model to the rather limited European Community Household Panel (ECHP) dataset in order to compare the results across a number of European countries. Overall we find that increased levels of social capital and quality of life aspects increases the chances of finding employment and reduce the duration of unemployment spells. Interestingly, given the current policy focus certainly at EU level, we do not find that increased ICT skill leads to greater chances of finding employment. On the other hand getting a job increases levels of social capital but longer unemployment durations decrease social capital and also aspects of quality of life.