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Constraint and Opportunity: Identifying Voluntary Non-Employment

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  • Tania Burchardt
  • Julian Le Grand
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    Abstract

    This paper assesses the extent to which the behaviour of an individual is the result of the constraints that he or she faces, or the result of his or her preferences. It concentrates on participation or non-participation in employment. Following a discussion of potential methodological difficulties, data from the British Household Panel Study are used to construct models of the probability of being in employment. Starting from the position that all non-employment is voluntary, possible constraints are introduced in layers corresponding to the degree to which they are regarded as beyond individual control. Since there may be unobserved constraints, the outcome is cross-checked by starting from the opposite position, namely that all non-employment is involuntary, then subtracting those for whom there is evidence of having chosen to be out of work. The results suggest that after taking into account as many constraints as possible, one-tenth of the non-employment is our sample is unambiguously voluntary, with a further one-tenth being indeterminate.

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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper55.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number case55.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case55

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    Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/default.asp

    Related research

    Keywords: employment; opportunity; capability; voluntary;

    References

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    1. Hahn, F H, 1987. "On Involuntary Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 1-16, Supplemen.
    2. Haveman, Robert & Bershadker, Andrew, 1998. "Self-Reliance as a Poverty Criterion: Trends in Earnings-Capacity Poverty, 1975-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 342-47, May.
    3. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Wiebke Kuklys, 2004. "A Monetary Approach to Capability Measurement of the Disabled - Evidence from the UK," Papers on Strategic Interaction, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group 2004-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    2. Wiebke Kuklys & Ingrid Robeyns, 2004. "Sens's Capability Approach to Welfare Economics," Papers on Strategic Interaction, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group 2004-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Masson, Torsten & Leßmann, Ortrud, 2012. "Nachhaltigkeitsindikatoren und Capabilities: Anknüpfungspunkte aus der deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsforschung," UFZ Discussion Papers 07/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    4. Christine le Clainche & Sandy Tubeuf, 2013. "Nannying, nudging, rewarding? A discussion on the constraints and the degree of control over health status," Working Papers, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds 1306, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
    5. D'Agata, Antonio, 2009. "Measures of freedom," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 209-214, January.
    6. Kuklys, W. & Robeyns, I., 2004. "Sen’s Capability Approach to Welfare Economics," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0415, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Richard Cookson, 2005. "QALYs and the capability approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(8), pages 817-829.
    8. Wiebke Kuklys, 2004. "Measuring Standard of Living in the UK - An Application of Sen's Functioning Approach Using Structural Equation Models," Papers on Strategic Interaction, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group 2004-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

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