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You’re Fired! The Causal Negative Effect of Unemployment on Life Satisfaction

  • Sonja C. Kassenboehmer
  • John P. Haisken-DeNew

    ()

This paper examines the impact of unemployment on life satisfaction for Germany 1984–2006, using a sample of men and women from the German Socio- Economic Panel (SOEP). Across the board we find large significant negative effects for unemployment on life satisfaction.This paper expands on previous cornerstone research from Winkelmann and Winkelmann (1998) and explicitly identifies truly exogenous unemployment entries starting from 1991.We find that for women in East andWest Germany, company closures in the year of entry into unemployment produce strongly negative effects on life satisfaction over and above an overall effect of unemployment, providing prima facie evidence of a reduced outside work option, large investments in firm-specific human capital or a family constraint. The compensating variation in terms of income is dramatic, indicating enormous non-pecuniary negative effects of exogenous unemployment due to company closures.

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File URL: http://repec.rwi-essen.de/files/REP_08_063.pdf
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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0063.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0063
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  1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Nick Carroll, 2005. "Unemployment and Psychological Well-Being," CEPR Discussion Papers 492, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  5. Korpi, Tomas, 1997. "Is utility related to employment status? Employment, unemployment, labor market policies and subjective well-being among Swedish youth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 125-147, June.
  6. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  7. 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.
  8. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  9. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A note on unhappiness and unemployment duration," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590444, HAL.
  10. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  14. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
  15. 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.
  16. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 3(3), pages 215-29, October.
  17. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
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