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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Impact of Unemployment on Well-Being

Kathleen Geier at the Washington Monthly:

What social science says about the impact of unemployment on well-being: it’s even worse than you thought, by Kathleen Geier: While reading this odd and meandering New York Times op-ed this morning, I stumbled upon a link to a fascinating study from last year on the impact of unemployment on non-monetary well-being. It was conducted by Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young, who discovered that unemployment has an even more catastrophic effect on personal happiness that we thought.

The study produced three major findings. The first is the devastating impact job loss has on personal well-being. Job loss, says Young, “produces a large drop in subjective well-being”

The second finding is that while unemployment insurance (UI) is successful as a macroeconomic stabilizer, it doesn’t make unemployed people any happier. ...

Third, job loss has a strong, lasting negative impact on well-being that may persist for years ...

Other research suggests that what Young refers to as “the scarring effect” of job loss can last from three to five years, or even longer. He also notes that “the more generalized fear of becoming jobless” may persist. ...

The sheer human misery created by the economic downturn has been stunning. The economic damage is, in some ways, the least of it. Another study shows that the long-term unemployed experience shame, loss of self-respect, and strained relationships with friends and family. They even suffer significantly higher rates of suicide. ...

It's hard to understand why policymakers haven't done more to try to alleviate the unemployment crisis.

    Posted by on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 01:31 PM in Economics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (35)


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