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.