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Unhappiness and Job Finding

  • Gielen, Anne C.


    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • van Ours, Jan C.


    (Tilburg University)

It is puzzling that people feel quite unhappy when they become unemployed, while at the same time active labor market policies are needed to bring unemployed back to work more quickly. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we investigate whether there is indeed such a puzzle. First, we find that nearly half of the unemployed do not experience a drop in happiness, which might explain why at least some workers need to be activated. In addition to that, we find that even though unemployed who experience a drop in happiness search more actively for a job, it does not speed up their job finding. Apparently, there is no link between unhappiness and the speed of job finding. Hence, there is no contradiction between unemployed being unhappy and the need for activation policies.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6320.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economica, 2014, 81, 544–565
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6320
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  1. Delfgaauw, Josse, 2007. "The effect of job satisfaction on job search: Not just whether, but also where," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 299-317, June.
  2. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  3. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2002. "Unemployment Alters the Set-Point for Life Satisfaction," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 02-16, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  4. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette & Véronique Simonnet, 2007. "Job Satisfaction and Quits," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00203158, HAL.
  5. Rafael Lalive & JanC. vanOurs & Josef Zweimüller, 2008. "The Impact of Active Labour Market Programmes on The Duration of Unemployment in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 235-257, 01.
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  7. Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen & Schöb, Ronnie & Weimann, Joachim, 2009. "Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day: time-use and well-being of the unemployed," Discussion Papers 2009/13, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  8. Berg, Gerard J. van den & Klaauw, Bas van der & Ours, Jan C. van, 1998. "Punitive sanctions and the transition rate from welfare to work," Serie Research Memoranda 0033, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
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  10. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
  12. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Arni, P. & Lalive, R. & van Ours, J.C., 2009. "How Effective are Unemployment Benefit Sanctions? Looking Beyond Unemployment Exit," Discussion Paper 2009-80, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
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  17. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  19. Anna Christina D'Addio & Michael Rosholm, . "Left-Censoring in Duration Data: Theory and Applications," Economics Working Papers 2002-5, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
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  22. Björklund, Anders, 1984. "Unemployment and Mental Health: Some Evidence from Panel Data," Working Paper Series 120, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  23. Green, Francis, 2010. "Well-being, job satisfaction and labour mobility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 897-903, December.
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  25. 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.
  26. Arni, Patrick & Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C, 2009. "How Effective Are Unemployment Benefit Sanctions?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Mavridis, Dimitris, 2010. "Can subjective well-being predict unemployment length ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5293, The World Bank.
  28. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
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