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Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment

  • Clark, Andrew E
  • Georgellis, Yannis
  • Sanfey, Peter

This paper considers the psychological impact of past unemployment. Using 11 waves of German panel data, we show that life satisfaction is lower not only for the current unemployed (relative to the employed), but also for those with higher levels of past unemployment. However, the negative well-being effect of current unemployment is weaker for those who have been unemployed more often in the past. The panel data also reveal some evidence that those suffering greater falls in well-being on entering unemployment are less likely to remain unemployed one year later. Together, these findings offer a psychological explanation of persistent unemployment. Copyright 2001 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 68 (2001)
Issue (Month): 270 (May)
Pages: 221-41

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:68:y:2001:i:270:p:221-41
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  1. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
  2. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999. "The macroeconomics of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  3. Whelan, Christopher T. & Hannan, Damian F. & Creighton, Sean, 1991. "Unemployment, Poverty and Psychological Distress," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS150.
  4. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  5. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
  6. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  7. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  8. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1997. "Job Satisfaction, Wage Changes and Quits: Evidence from Germany," Studies in Economics 9711, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  9. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Ceema Zahra Namazie & Peter Sanfey, 1998. "Happiness in Transition: The Case of Kyrgyzstan," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 40, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  11. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  12. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
  13. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  14. Korpi, Tomas, 1997. "Is utility related to employment status? Employment, unemployment, labor market policies and subjective well-being among Swedish youth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 125-147, June.
  15. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
  16. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
  17. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  18. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  19. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Unemployment through the Filter of Memory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 747-73, August.
  20. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  21. Arulampalam, Wiji & Booth, Alison L & Taylor, Mark P, 2000. "Unemployment Persistence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 24-50, January.
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