Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2013-04
Households’ responses to spousal job loss: ‘all change’ or ‘carry on as usual’?
14 Aug 2013
Economic theory suggests that when a primary earner within a couple loses their job, one potential response is for the secondary earner to seek additional paid work to bolster their household finances. Yet, the empirical quantitative evidence regarding any such ‘added worker effect’ is mixed. To investigate why this might be, we explore the processes behind household responses to job loss through qualitative interviewing techniques. The findings indicate that the use of additional spousal labour is only one response of many alternatives and typically only invoked in cases of serious financial hardship.