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The unhappily unemployed return to work faster


  • Dimitris Mavridis



This paper shows that job loss is associated with a fall in subjective well-being (SWB). It then looks at how this change in SWB predicts job search and unemployment duration. The findings suggest that those who report feeling hurt by unemployment have shorter unemployment durations. Men who report a loss of SWB are also more likely to look for a job, but women’s job search is not affected by the SWB loss. These findings confirm the theoretical prediction from job search theory: search effort and unemployment duration are affected by the utility differential between having a job and being unemployed. JEL codes: J64; J28 Copyright Mavridis; licensee Springer. 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitris Mavridis, 2015. "The unhappily unemployed return to work faster," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-22, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:izalbr:v:4:y:2015:i:1:p:1-22:10.1186/s40172-014-0015-z DOI: 10.1186/s40172-014-0015-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Dominik Hanglberger & Joachim Merz, 2011. "Are Self-Employed Really Happier than Employees?: An Approach Modelling Adaptation and Anticipation Effects to Self-Employment and General Job Changes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 376, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "SWB as a Measure of Individual Well-Being," PSE Working Papers halshs-01134483, HAL.
    2. repec:spr:qualqt:v:52:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11135-017-0479-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2017. "Income or Leisure? On the Hidden Benefits of (Un-) Employment," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201706, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01134483 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yann Algan & Elizabeth Beasley & Florian Guyot & Kazuhito Higad & Fabrice Murtin & Claudia Senik, 2015. "Big Data Measures of Well-Being: Evidence from a Google Well-Being Index in the US," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5k53daedc28, Sciences Po.

    More about this item


    Unemployment duration; Job search; Subjective well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy


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