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Better an insecure job than no job at all? Unemployment, job insecurity and subjective wellbeing


  • Andreas Knabe

    (Freie Universität Berlin)

  • Steffen Rätzel

    (Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg)


We analyze the impact of a person’s current employment status and expectations about his or her future labor market status on life satisfaction, using long -run panel data for Germany. Our findings suggest that future expectations (measured by perceived job security for the employed and chances to find a new job for the unemployed) are at least as important for a person ’s subjective well-being as his or her current employment status. This implies that an unemployed person who thinks it will be easy to find a new job might be happier than if he had an insecure job. There might be circum¬stances under which having no job is less harmful for subjective well-being than being employed in an insecure one.

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  • Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2010. "Better an insecure job than no job at all? Unemployment, job insecurity and subjective wellbeing," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(3), pages 2486-2494.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-10-00537

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Loss Expectations, Realizations, and Household Consumption Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 253-269, February.
    2. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
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    4. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, December.
    5. Dickerson, Andy & Green, Francis, 2012. "Fears and realisations of employment insecurity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 198-210.
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    More about this item


    Financial Development;

    JEL classification:

    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling


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