Unemployment & Happiness

A change of status: from unemployment to retirement

In a further study, Professor Schöb examines to what extent the subjective well-being and life satisfaction of unemployed people changes after retiring. The scientists consciously choose a scenario in which the daily life of unemployed people did not change much. Astonishingly, the life satisfaction of the former unemployed people improved a lot. Although the daily life of the people did not really change, they were essentially happier. The unemployed people underwent a change of status: from unemployment to retirement. A person’s social identity is amongst others formed by its social group. Being unemployed means belonging to the social group of unemployed people. This group, however, possesses a highly stigmatised social status. In the moment the unemployed person retires, he returns into a group with a much higher social acceptance. Now retired, he no longer violates the social norms, but sticks to them. A retired person is not expected to work. Moreover, the pressure to look for a new job is gone.

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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