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Your Spouse Is Fired! How Much Do You Care?

Listed author(s):
  • Nikolova, Milena

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Ayhan, Sinem H.

    ()

    (IZA)

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.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10411.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10411.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10411
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  1. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  2. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
  3. Silvia Mendolia, 2014. "The impact of husband’s job loss on partners’ mental health," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 277-294, June.
  4. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, 06.
  5. Clark, Andrew & Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen, 2010. "Boon or bane? Others' unemployment, well-being and job insecurity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 52-61, January.
  6. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
  7. Eggers, Andrew & Gaddy, Clifford & Graham, Carol, 2006. "Well-being and unemployment in Russia in the 1990s: Can society's suffering be individuals' solace?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 209-242, April.
  8. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
  9. Denise Doiron & Silvia Mendolia, 2012. "The impact of job loss on family dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 367-398, January.
  10. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2015. "How Job Changes Affect People's Lives: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 747, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. Michael Kind & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2012. "Unexpected Victims: How Parents' Unemployment Affects Their Children's Life Satisfaction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n02, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  12. 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, 07.
  13. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
  14. Andrew Clark & Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2009. "Unemployment as a Social Norm in Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 251-260.
  15. SonjaC. Kassenboehmer & JohnP. Haisken-DeNew, 2009. "You're Fired! The Causal Negative Effect of Entry Unemployment on Life Satisfaction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 448-462, 03.
  16. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  17. Melisa Bubonya & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Mark Wooden, 2014. "A Family Affair: Job Loss and the Mental Health of Spouses and Adolescents," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  18. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2007. "Are there Geographical Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 629-652, February.
  19. López Ulloa, Beatriz Fabiola & Møller, Valerie & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2013. "How does subjective well-being evolve with age? A literature review," FZID Discussion Papers 72-2013, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  20. Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price & Mark Wooden, 2009. "Life satisfaction and the economic and social characteristics of neighbourhoods," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 421-443, April.
  21. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
  22. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Vernoit, James, 2013. "Parental unemployment and children's happiness: A longitudinal study of young people's well-being in unemployed households," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 253-263.
  23. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
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