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The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being

  • Alois Stutzer
  • Rafael Lalive

Social norms are usually neglected in economics, because they are to a large extent enforced through non-market interactions and difficult to isolate empirically. In this paper, we offer a direct measure of the social norm to work and we show that this norm has important economic effects. The stronger the norm, the more quickly unemployed people find a new job. This behavior can be explained by utility differences, probably due to social pressure. Unemployed people are significantly less happy than employed people and their reduction in life satisfaction is the larger, the stronger the norm is.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 051.

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