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Economic Crisis, Quality of Work, and Social IntegrationThe European Experience$
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Duncan Gallie

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664719.001.0001

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Unemployment and Subjective Well-Being

Unemployment and Subjective Well-Being

(p.229) 9 Unemployment and Subjective Well-Being
Economic Crisis, Quality of Work, and Social Integration

Russell Helen

Watson Dorothy

McGinnity Frances

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of the economic crisis on subjective well-being. The influence of the economic downturn is measured using current and past unemployment, partner’s unemployment, financial strain and deterioration in household economic circumstances. All are associated with lower life satisfaction. Financial strain accounts for almost half of the lower life satisfaction of the unemployed and all of the reduced life satisfaction of their partners. Social integration is lower among the unemployed but explains only a small part of the deficit in satisfaction. The relationship between unemployment and satisfaction varies little by welfare regime except that in the Southern regime there is a much smaller gap in the life satisfaction of the employed and the unemployed. We find that the overall level of unemployment makes little difference to how damaging unemployment is for people’s well-being. It is the personal experience of economic crisis such as unemployment, financial strain and insecurity that is critical for well-being rather than the person’s relative position compared to others in the wider society.

Keywords:   life satisfaction, subjective well-being, unemployment, financial strain, social integration, welfare regime, scarring, quality of life

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