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Social interactions and unemployment


  • Hedström, Peter

    (Nuffield College, Oxford University)

  • Kolm, Ann-Sofie

    (Uppsala University and IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Åberg, Yvonne

    (Department of Sociology, Stockholm University)


This paper is concerned with social interactions and their importance for unemployment. A theoretical model is specified in which the psychological costs of unemployment depend upon the unemployment level. The analysis reveals social multiplier effects, and shows that multiple unemployment equilibria may emerge. Data on all 20- to 24-year-olds living in Stockholm during the 1990s are used to test hypotheses from the model. The results show that individuals’ transition rates out of unemployment is strongly influenced by the unemployment level within their neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Hedström, Peter & Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Åberg, Yvonne, 2003. "Social interactions and unemployment," Working Paper Series 2003:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2003_015

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    Cited by:

    1. Plum, Alexander & Knies, Gundi, 2015. "Earnings prospects for low-paid workers higher than for the unemployed but only in high-pay areas with high unemployment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112845, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Plum, Alexander & Knies, Gundi, 2015. "Does neighbourhood unemployment affect the springboard effect of low pay?," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-20, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
    4. Adrian Chadi, 2012. "Employed But Still Unhappy? On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 132(1), pages 1-26.
    5. Adrian Chadi, "undated". "Employed But Still Unhappy? On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm," Working Papers 201142, Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary.
    6. Tolciu, Andreia, 2009. "What a difference peers can make: The impact of social (work) norms on unemployment duration," HWWI Research Papers 1-24, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    7. Andreia Tolciu, 2010. "The Economics of Social Interactions: An Interdisciplinary Ground for Social Scientists?," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 223-242, October.
    8. Tolciu, Andreia, 2008. "Is unemployment a consequence of social interactions? Seeking for a common research framework for economists and other social scientists," HWWI Research Papers 1-15, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    9. Thomas K. Bauer & Michael Fertig & Matthias Vorell, 2011. "Neighborhood Effects and Individual Unemployment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 409, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Österholm, Pär, 2004. "Estimating the Relationship between Age Structure and GDP in the OECD Using Panel Cointegration Methods," Working Paper Series 2004:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    11. Thomas Aronsson & Sören Blomquist, 2008. "Redistribution and Provision of Public Goods in an Economic Federation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(1), pages 125-143, February.
    12. Contini, Dalit & Richiardi, Matteo G., 2012. "Reconsidering the effect of welfare stigma on unemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 229-244.
    13. Cuéllar Martín, Jaime & Martín-Román, Ángel L. & Moral, Alfonso, 2017. "A composed error model decomposition and spatial analysis of local unemployment," MPRA Paper 79783, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Dos Santos Ferreira, Rodolphe & Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor, 2014. "Employment Dynamics and Redistributive Policies under Workers' Social Norms," IZA Discussion Papers 7888, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Joel van der Weele, 2007. "The Signalling Power of Sanctions in Collective Action Problems," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/10, European University Institute.
    16. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2008. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(2), pages 218-244, June.
    17. Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2004. "Scarring effects of the first labour market experience: A sibling based analysis," Working Paper Series 2004:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    18. Caria, Antonia Stefano & Hassen, Ibrahim Worku, 2013. "The formation of job referral networks: Experimental evidence from ubran Ethiopia:," IFPRI discussion papers 1282, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    19. Dos Santos Ferreira, Rodolphe & Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor, 2015. "The destabilizing effects of the social norm to work under a social security system," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 64-72.
    20. Hesselius, Patrik & Johansson, Per & Vikström, Johan, 2008. "Monitoring and norms in sickness insurance: empirical evidence from a natural experiment," Working Paper Series 2008:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

    More about this item


    Social interactions; social norms; social multipliers; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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