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Your Spouse Is Fired! How Much Do You Care?

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Listed:
  • Milena Nikolova
  • Sinem Ayhan

Abstract

This study is the first to provide a causal estimate of the subjective well-being effects of spousal unemployment at the couple level. Using German panel data on married and cohabiting partners for 1991-2013 and information on exogenous job termination induced by workplace closure, we show that spousal unemployment reduces the life satisfaction of indirectly-affected spouses. The impact is equally pronounced among female and male partners. Importantly, the results are not driven by an income effect, but likely reflect the psychological costs of unemployment. Our findings are robust to a battery of sensitivity checks and imply that public policy programs aimed at mitigating the negative consequences of unemployment need to consider within-couple spillovers.

Suggested Citation

  • Milena Nikolova & Sinem Ayhan, 2016. "Your Spouse Is Fired! How Much Do You Care?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 891, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp891
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    8. Lars Kunze & Nicolai Suppa, 2020. "The effect of unemployment on social participation of spouses: evidence from plant closures in Germany," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 815-833, February.
    9. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Tyurina, Elena & Nagapetyan, Artur, 2022. "The economic value of the Glass Beach: Contingent valuation and life satisfaction approaches," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
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    12. Nikolova, Milena, 2019. "Switching to self-employment can be good for your health," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 664-691.
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    21. Carol Graham, 2005. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 41-55, July.
    22. Benedikt Kretzler & Hans-Helmut König & André Hajek, 2021. "Objective Job Demands of Oneself and One’s Partner, and Depressive Symptoms. Evidence from a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(23), pages 1-11, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; involuntary job loss; plant closure; spouses; well-being;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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