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The Emotional Timeline of Unemployment: Anticipation, Reaction, and Adaptation

  • Christian von Scheve
  • Frederike Esche
  • Jürgen Schupp

Unemployment continues to be one of the major challenges in industrialized societies. Aside from its economic dimensions and societal repercussions, questions concerning the individual experience of unemployment have recently attracted increasing attention. Although many studies have documented the detrimental effects of unemployment for subjective well-being, they overwhelmingly focus on life satisfaction as the cognitive dimension of well-being. Little is known about the emotional antecedents and consequences of unemployment. We thus investigate the impact of unemployment on emotional well-being by analyzing the frequency with which specific emotions are experienced in anticipation of and reaction to job loss. Using longitudinal data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and fixed effects regressions, we find that becoming unemployed leads to more frequent experiences of unpleasant emotions only in the short run and that adaptation occurs more rapidly as compared to life satisfaction. Contrary to existing studies, we find decreases on emotional well-being but not in life satisfaction in anticipation of unemployment.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.429235.de/diw_sp0593.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 593.

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Length: 43 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp593
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  1. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas I. Mueller, 2012. "Time Use, Emotional Well-Being, and Unemployment: Evidence from Longitudinal Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 594-99, May.
  2. Ulrich Schimmack, 2003. "Affect Measurement in Experience Sampling Research," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 79-106, March.
  3. Ormel, Johan & Lindenberg, Siegwart & Steverink, Nardi & Vonkorff, Michael, 1997. "Quality of life and social production functions: A framework for understanding health effects," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1051-1063, October.
  4. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  5. Angeles, Luis, 2010. "Adaptation and anticipation effects to life events in the United Kingdom," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-01, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  6. Daniel Oesch & Oliver Lipps, 2011. "Does Unemployment Hurt Less if There Is More of It Around?: A Panel Analysis of Life Satisfaction in Germany and Switzerland," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 393, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Melanie Davern & Robert Cummins & Mark Stokes, 2007. "Subjective Wellbeing as an Affective-Cognitive Construct," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-449, December.
  8. Kunzmann, Ute & Richter, David & Schmukle, Stefan C., 2013. "Stability and Change in Affective Experience Across the Adult Life Span: Analyses With a National Sample From Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1086-1095.
  9. Henning Lohmann & Sven Witzke, 2011. "BIOEDU (Beta Version): Biographical Data on Educational Participation and Transitions in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)," Data Documentation 58, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Steffen Rätzel & Joachim Weimann, 2009. "Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day- time-use and well-being of the unemployed," FEMM Working Papers 09011, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  11. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
  12. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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