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Employed but Still Unhappy?: On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm

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  • Adrian Chadi

Abstract

In the modern welfare state, people who cannot make a living usually receive financial assistance from public funds. Accordingly, the so-called social work norm against living off other people is violated, which may be the reason why the unemployed are so unhappy. If so, however, labour market concepts based on the notion of promoting low-paid jobs that are subsidised if necessary with additional payments would appear far less favourable. It could be that people are employed, but still unhappy. Using German panel data, this paper examines the relevance of the social work norm and finds a significant disutility effect of living off public funds. Although this is true for employed people as well, the results show that the individual is generally better off having a job that requires additional assistance, than having no job at all. On the other hand, such policies as the recent German labour market reforms can trigger undesired side-effects, if policy-makers ignore the issue of the social work norm.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Chadi, 2011. "Employed but Still Unhappy?: On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 353, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp353
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    Cited by:

    1. Adrian Chadi, 2014. "Regional unemployment and norm-induced effects on life satisfaction," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 1111-1141, May.
    2. Ronnie Schöb, 2016. "Labor market policies, unemployment, and identity," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 270-270, June.
    3. Homann, Malte & Jensen, Uwe, 2013. "Does better education cause higher income?," HWWI Research Papers 145, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    4. Clemens Hetschko, 2016. "On the misery of losing self-employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 461-478, August.
    5. 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).
    6. Wolf, Tobias & Hetschko, Clemens & Schöb, Ronnie, 2016. "Income Support, (Un-)Employment and Well-Being," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145860, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; Social benefits; Low-wages; Labour market policies; Social norms; Well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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