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The Effect of Subsidized Employment on Happiness

  • Benjamin Crost

While a large body of evidence suggests that unemployment and self-reported happiness are negatively correlated, it is not clear whether this reflects a causal effect of unemployment on happiness and whether subsidized employment can increase the happiness of the unemployed. To close this gap, this paper estimates the causal effect of a type of subsidized employment projects - Germany's Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen - on self-reported happiness. Results from matching and fixed effects estimators suggest that subsidized employment has a large and statistically significant positive effect on the happiness of individuals who would otherwise have been unemployed. Detailed panel data on pre- and post-project happiness suggests that this effect can neither be explained by self-selection of happier individuals into employment nor by the higher incomes of the employed.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.373756.de/diw_sp0384.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 384.

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Length: 41 p.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp384
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  1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  2. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2011. "Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 1-11, January.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 828, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  6. Petri Böckerman & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2009. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: evidence from panel data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 161-179.
  7. Nick Carroll, 2005. "Unemployment and Psychological Well-Being," CEPR Discussion Papers 492, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  8. Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "Wage Subsidies for the Disadvantaged," NBER Working Papers 5679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bernhard, Sarah & Hohmeyer, Katrin & Jozwiak, Eva & Koch, Susanne & Kruppe, Thomas & Stephan, Gesine & Wolff, Joachim, 2008. "Aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Deutschland und ihre Wirkungen," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200802, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  10. Hujer, Reinhard & Caliendo, Marco & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2003. "New Evidence on the Effects of Job Creation Schemes in Germany - A Matching Approach with Threefold Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
  12. Marco Caliendo & Reinhard Hujer & Stephan Thomsen, 2008. "Identifying effect heterogeneity to improve the efficiency of job creation schemes in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(9), pages 1101-1122.
  13. Edlin Aaron S. & Phelps Edmund, 2009. "Getting Serious about Job Creation: Part I," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 6(5), pages 1-5, April.
  14. Frick, Joachim R. & Jenkings, Stephen P. & Lillard, Dean R. & Lipps, Oliver & Wooden, Mark, 2007. "The Cross-National Equivalent File (CNEF) and Its Member Country Household Panel Studies," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 627-654.
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