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Have we cause for despair?

Listed author(s):
  • Pecchenino, Rowena A.

Man is a social being. Man's identity, preferences, place and status are defined in reference to society and that society is the arbiter of man's success or failure. In this paper I examine societal linkages in the context of their dissolution, arguing that if the societal link is damaged or broken, man is fundamentally changed. Since despair evidences eviction from society, I examine despair, the loss of hope, and the behaviors associated therewith from the perspectives of many disciplines to define despair and to characterize the despairing individual and his relationship to society. I then develop a model of a goal-oriented, socially-embedded agent in which the usual concept of the individual is challenged, and hope and despair are fundamental to this challenge. Using this theoretical framework, I return to the economics literature and examine the extent to which economics has, at least implicitly, recognized despair without necessarily confronting it either in theory or policy design, argue why this failure has weakened both our theory and our policy, and suggest a possible remedy.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214804315000932
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 58 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 56-62

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:58:y:2015:i:c:p:56-62
DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2015.07.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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  1. Ludwig, Jens & Marcotte, Dave E. & Norberg, Karen, 2009. "Anti-depressants and suicide," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 659-676, May.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  3. Rowena Pecchenino, 2011. "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here?," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n217-11.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  4. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
  5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  6. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
  7. Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Veum, Jonathan R. & Darity, William Jr., 1996. "The psychological impact of unemployment and joblessness," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 333-358.
  8. Mazerolle, Maurice J. & Singh, Gangaram, 2002. "Social support and the reduction of discouragement after job displacement," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 409-422.
  9. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Ratzel, 2011. "Quantifying the psychological costs of unemployment: the role of permanent income," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2751-2763.
  10. Misbah Tanveer Choudhry, 2012. "Youth unemployment rate and impact of financial crises," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 76-95, March.
  11. Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Veum, Jonathan R. & William Darity, Jr., 1996. "The impact of labor force history on self-esteem and its component parts, anxiety, alienation and depression," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 183-220, April.
  12. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
  13. Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Veum, Jonathan R. & Darity, William Jr., 1995. "Are being unemployed and being out of the labor force distinct states?: A psychological approach," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 275-295, July.
  14. 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.
  15. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2007. "Moral Rules, the Moral Sentiments, and Behavior: Toward a Theory of an Optimal Moral System," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 494-514.
  16. Nadia Campaniello & Theodoros Diasakos & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2012. "Rational Suicides: Evidence from Changes in Inmates' Expected Sentence Length," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 247, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  17. Nava Ashraf & Colin F. Camerer & George Loewenstein, 2005. "Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 131-145, Summer.
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  19. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:02:p:147-174_09 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Bjornstad, Roger, 2006. "Learned helplessness, discouraged workers, and multiple unemployment equilibria," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 458-475, June.
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