IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Worker Identity, Employment Fluctuations and Stabilization Policy

  • Snower, Dennis J.


    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

  • Lechthaler, Wolfgang


    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

This paper provides a model of "social hysteresis" whereby long, deep recessions demotivate workers and thereby lead them to change their work ethic. In switching from a pro-work to an anti-work identity, their incentives to seek and retain work fall and consequently their employment chances fall. In this way, temporary recessions may come to have permanent effects on aggregate employment. We also show that these permanent effects, along with the underlying identity switches, can be avoided through stabilization policy. The size of the government expenditure multiplier can be shown to depend on the composition of identities in the workforce.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7413.

in new window

Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7413
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  2. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages F222-F243, 06.
  3. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
  6. Pietro Garibaldi & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Equilibrium Search Unemployment, Endogenous Participation, And Labor Market Flows," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 851-882, 06.
  7. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
  8. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
  9. Battu, Harminder & Mwale, MacDonald & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Oppositional Identities and the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. M. Vendrik, Maarten C., 1993. "Habits, hysteresis and catastrophes in labor supply," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 353-372, April.
  11. Bjornstad, Roger, 2006. "Learned helplessness, discouraged workers, and multiple unemployment equilibria," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 458-475, June.
  12. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Working Papers 1950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bouthevillain, C. & Dufrénot, G., 2010. "Are the effects of fiscal changes different in times of crisis and non-crisis? The French Case," Working papers 286, Banque de France.
  14. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," NBER Working Papers 5643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Warr, Peter & Jackson, Paul, 1987. "Adapting to the unemployed role: A longitudinal investigation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 1219-1224, January.
  16. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Working Paper Series 481, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  17. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, March.
  18. 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 221-41, May.
  19. David Austen-Smith & Ronald G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'," Discussion Papers 1399, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  20. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  21. William Darity, Jr. & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1993. "Unemployment, Social Psychology, and Unemployment Hysteresis," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 16(1), pages 55-71, October.
  22. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8921 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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).
  24. Klor, Esteban F & Shayo, Moses, 2007. "Social Identity and Preferences over Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 6406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Pries, Michael & Rogerson, Richard, 2009. "Search frictions and labor market participation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 568-587, July.
  26. Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Veum, Jonathan R. & William Darity, Jr., 1996. "The impact of labor force history on self-esteem and its component parts, anxiety, alienation and depression," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 183-220, April.
  27. Darity, William Jr. & Mason, Patrick L. & Stewart, James B., 2006. "The economics of identity: The origin and persistence of racial identity norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 283-305, July.
  28. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. van der Klaauw, B. & van Ours, J.C., 2003. "From welfare to work : Does the neighbourhood matter?," Other publications TiSEM 196c643f-07ca-496b-950c-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  30. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
  31. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  32. Campolmi Alessia & Faia Ester & Winkler Roland, 2011. "Fiscal Calculus and the Labor Market," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-27, December.
  33. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, . "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," IEW - Working Papers 051, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  34. 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.
  35. Alessia Campolmi & Ester Faia & Roland Winkler, 2011. "Fiscal Calculus in a New Keynesian Model with Labor Market Frictions," MNB Working Papers 2011/5, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7413. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.