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Households’ responses to spousal job loss: ‘all change’ or ‘carry on as usual’?


  • Gush, Karon
  • Scott, James
  • Laurie, Heather


Economic theory suggests that when a primary earner within a couple loses their job, one potential response is for the secondary earner to seek additional paid work to bolster their household finances. Yet, the empirical quantitative evidence regarding any such ‘added worker effect’ is mixed. To investigate why this might be, we explore the processes behind household responses to job loss through qualitative interviewing techniques. The findings indicate that the use of additional spousal labour is only one response of many alternatives and typically only invoked in cases of serious financial hardship.

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  • Gush, Karon & Scott, James & Laurie, Heather, 2013. "Households’ responses to spousal job loss: ‘all change’ or ‘carry on as usual’?," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2013-13

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    Cited by:

    1. Jane Elliott & Jon Lawrence, 2016. "The Emotional Economy of Unemployment," SAGE Open, , vol. 6(4), pages 21582440166, December.
    2. Hélène Périvier, 2016. "Recession, austerity and gender: A Comparison of Eight European Labour Markets," Sciences Po publications 2016-05, Sciences Po.
    3. David Bayliss & Wendy Olsen & Pierre Walthery, 2017. "Well-Being During Recession in the UK," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 12(2), pages 369-387, June.
    4. Aliya Hamid Rao, 2020. "From Professionals to Professional Mothers: How College-educated Married Mothers Experience Unemployment in the US," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 34(2), pages 299-316, April.
    5. Hélène Perivier, 2016. "Recession, austerity and gender - a comparison of eight european labour markets," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2016-05, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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