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Unemployment and well-being in Europe. The effect of country unemployment rate, work ethics and family ties


  • MIKUCKA Malgorzata


Subjective well-being literature shows that higher unemployment rate corresponds to lower psychological cost of own unemployment. The goal of the paper is to deepen the understanding of this regularity by investigating the role played by the work ethics and the strength of family ties. I analyze the European Values Study data (2008) for 36 countries using multilevel regression methodology. First, starting from the ?stigma hypothesis? I postulate that higher unemployment rate is associated with weaker work values, which correspond to less social pressure and feeling of guilt, in turn lowering the psychological cost of own unemployment. This is only partly supported by the data: whereas stronger work values lower the well-being of unemployed, the country work ethics has no effect. According to the second hypothesis, stronger family ties raise the well-being of the unemployed. This prediction is con?rmed: people living in countries with stronger family ties and those declaring stronger norms for family support suffer less from being unemployed. However, the strength of family ties does not mediate the link between unemployment rate and effect of own unemployment. Moreover, weaker family ties contribute to lower well-being of unemployed in western Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • MIKUCKA Malgorzata, 2011. "Unemployment and well-being in Europe. The effect of country unemployment rate, work ethics and family ties," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-14, LISER.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. André van Hoorn & Robbert Maseland, 2008. "Weber, Work Ethic And Well-Being," Papers on Economics of Religion 08/07, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    2. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Living with a weak economy
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-11-17 21:02:19

    More about this item


    well-being; unemployment; work ethics; work values; stigma hypothesis; family ties; inter-family support;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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