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Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment

  • Krause, Annabelle

This study investigates the effect of unemployed individuals’ happiness on their future labor market outcomes. It therefore acknowledges the possibility that happiness could also be a driver of behavior and influence life's outcomes. I use rich survey data from 2007 to 2009 of entrants into unemployment in Germany (the IZA Evaluation Dataset S) to calculate residual happiness, which displays higher (or lower) satisfaction levels than would be predicted by a number of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. I find a statistically significant inverted U-shaped effect of residual happiness on an unemployed individual's future reemployment probability and reentry wage, even after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, labor market histories and future job prospects. Further investigation offers three mechanisms that have not been previously shown in this context: (a) happiness is mainly a predictor for exit into self-employment rather than regular employment; (b) only male unemployed experience an effect of happiness on reemployment; and (c) the concept of locus of control and the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion are main drivers of the baseline effect on regular reemployment and are able to explain the effect on reemployment for males.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 96 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:96:y:2013:i:c:p:1-20
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