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Unemployment, Social Capital, and Subjective Well-Being

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  • Rainer Winkelmann

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Abstract

It has been shown in past research that unemployment has a large negative impact on subjective well-being of individuals. In this paper, I explore whether and to what extent people with more social capital are sheltered from the harmful effects of unemployment. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel 1984-2004, I find that social capital is an important predictor of well-being levels, but there is no evidence that it moderates the effect of unemployment on well-being. The well-being loss, in turn, is shown to predict job search and re-employment. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed, and suggestions for future research are given.
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Suggested Citation

  • Rainer Winkelmann, 2009. "Unemployment, Social Capital, and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 421-430, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:10:y:2009:i:4:p:421-430
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-008-9097-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriette & van Praag, Bernard M. S., 2006. "The Compensating Income Variation of Social Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 2529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    4. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, June.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
    6. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    7. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    8. Johannes Schwarze & Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOI - Working Papers 0503, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Sep 2005.
    9. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    10. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    11. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
    12. 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.
    13. repec:pse:psecon:2005-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2001. "Exploring the Economic and Social Determinants of Psychological and Psychosocial Health," IZA Discussion Papers 396, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Wim Groot & Henriëtte Brink & Bernard Praag, 2007. "The Compensating Income Variation of Social Capital," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 189-207, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Social activities; German Socio-Economic Panel; Regression analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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