Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series
May 1, 2008
In this paper, we explore the relationship between expectations and reservation wages for a sample of unemployed individuals using panel data drawn from the British Household Panel Survey, 1996 to 2005. To be specific, we initially investigate the determinants of expectations relating to the individual’s financial situation and employment prospects over the next 12 months. Our findings suggest that job search and education are positively associated with financial optimism and confidence regarding future employment prospects. Conversely, the length of time out of employment and age are associated with pessimistic expectations. Propensity score matching techniques enable us to adopt a quasi experimental approach to ascertain how an individual’s expectations regarding their future financial situation as well as expectations regarding securing future employment influence the setting of reservation wages at the individual level. Optimism over future finances and future job prospects are associated with a higher reservation wage in both the matched and unmatched estimates. Furthermore, confidence over securing future employment is associated with a higher probability of actually gaining employment in the next period.