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Peer Groups, Employment Status and Mental Well-being among Older Adults in Ireland

Author

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  • Hudson, Eibhlin

    () (Trinity College Dublin)

  • Barrett, Alan

    () (ESRI, Dublin)

Abstract

Research has shown that employment status, such as being unemployed or retired, can be related to well-being. In addition, the direction and size of these relationships can be influenced by the employment status of one's peer group. For example, it has been shown that the well-being of the unemployed tends to be higher for those living in high-unemployment areas compared to the unemployed living in low-unemployment areas. In this paper, we explore whether such employment peer effects impact upon the well-being of older workers. This is an important issue in the context of promoting longer working lives. If the well-being of older people in employment is lowered by low employment levels in their peer group, then sustaining high employment among older workers will be more difficult. We use data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) which is a nationally representative sample of people aged fifty and over and living in Ireland, collected between 2009 and 2011. Employment peer effects are proxied using the peer group non-employment rate where a peer is defined as someone in the same age-group and region and of the same gender. We find that for the employed, an increase in peer non-employment is associated with an increase in reported depressive symptoms, whereas for those not employed such an increase is associated with a decrease in reported depressive symptoms. However, these findings hold mainly for men.

Suggested Citation

  • Hudson, Eibhlin & Barrett, Alan, 2013. "Peer Groups, Employment Status and Mental Well-being among Older Adults in Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 7586, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7586
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
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    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cristina Borra & Francisco Gómez-García, 2016. "Wellbeing at Work and the Great Recession: The Effect of Others’ Unemployment," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1939-1962, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    older adults; well-being; peer groups;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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