New Publications

Social Contacts, Unemployment, and Experienced Well-Being. Evidence from Time-Use Data

04.10.2022 -

New working paper by Andreas Knabe and An Hoang

We use the UK Time-Use Survey 2014/15 to analyze how differences in the frequency and intensity of social contacts contribute to the gap in experienced well-being between employed and unemployed persons. We observe that people generally enjoy being with others more than being alone. The unemployed generally feel worse than the employed when engaging in the same kind of activities, partly because they are more often alone. The unemployed can replace lost work contacts only partially with private contacts. In terms of experienced well-being, however, the small increase in time spent with family and friends (which people enjoy a lot) offsets the loss of work contacts (which people generally enjoy only little). Hence, we do not find that the differences in the social-contact composition between the employed and the unemployed contribute to the difference in their experienced well-being.


The working paper can be found here.


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Der Mindestlohn von 12 Euro kommt - die sozialpolitischen Risiken bleiben

16.12.2021 -

New publication by Andreas Knabe, Ronnie Schöb, and Marcel Thum: 


The publication can be found here.                                                    


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Happiness, Work, and Identity

08.03.2021 -

New publication by Clemens Hetschko, Andreas Knabe and Ronnie Schöb: 

This chapter introduces identity utility to the study of (un)employment and (un)happiness. The concept is described in terms of an augmented utility function, the implications of which are assessed in light of the empirical literature on unemployment and well-being. Studies on unemployed persons' affective and cognitive well-being allow assessing the importance of the loss of identity utility relative to other nonmonetary consequences of joblessness, such as fewer social contacts and a lack of a structure in daily life. Unlike life satisfaction, unemployment leaves affective well-being mostly unaffected, which points to a major relevance of the loss of identity. This view is corroborated further by studies on the importance of the social norms to work and be self-reliant for the life satisfaction of the unemployed, as well as by studies showing the positive life satisfaction effect of retirement on unemployed workers. Based on this strong evidence for identity utility losses of unemployed persons, the notion of identity utility is used to explain heterogeneity in the effect of unemployment on life satisfaction. It is also linked to further consequences of unemployment, such as social exclusion and stigmatization. Moreover, this chapter uses identity utility to assess the likely effectiveness of labor market policies in alleviating the misery of the unemployed. Finally, research on work, happiness and identity is reconciled with a more standard economics view on labor supply based on studies examining the impact of working hours on workers' well-being.

The publication can be found here.

Handbook Labor

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Parental time restrictions and the cost of children: insights from a survey among mothers (Borah, Knabe, Pahlke)

01.03.2021 -

New publication by Melanie Borah, Andreas Knabe and Kevin Pahlke:

An important aspect when analyzing economic inequality between households with children is time. At given monetary incomes, the material well-being of families may be very different depending on how much time parents have at their disposal. In this paper, we provide estimates of the subjectively perceived cost of children depending on the extent of parental time restrictions. Building on a study by Koulovatianos, Schröder and Schmidt (J. Bus. Econ. Stat. 27:42–51, 2009) that introduces a novel way of using subjective income evaluation data for such estimations, we conduct a refined version of the underlying survey, focusing on young women with children in Germany. Our study confirms that the perceived monetary cost of children is substantial and increases with parental nonmarket time restrictions. The experienced loss in material living standards associated with supplying time to the labor market is sizeable for families with children.

The publication can be found here.

Journal of Economic Inequality

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Replication: Emotional well-being and unemployment – Evidence from the American time-use survey (Hoang, Knabe)

16.02.2021 -

New publication by Thi Truong An Hoang and Andreas Knabe:: 

We use data from the well-being module of the American Time-Use Survey (ATUS) 2010–2013 to reexamine the relationship between unemployment and emotional well-being. We replicate two previous studies (Krueger & Mueller, 2012; Dolan, Kudrna, & Stone, 2017) which have produced differing findings on this relationship, and analyze what factors cause the differences in their outcomes. We find that the results critically depend on the definition of employment statuses and the choice of well-being measure. The unemployed appear sadder and more in pain than the employed, but no other emotion queried in the ATUS has worse values for the unemployed than for the employed. Aggregate emotional well-being measures suggest that unemployment is not negatively related to emotional well-being. Applying a wider instead of narrow definition of unemployment tends to result in better emotional well-being scores for the unemployed, mainly because job leavers and new or re-entrants into the labor market report better emotions than the group of people who are unemployed due to an involuntary job loss.

The publication can be found here.

Journal Economic Psychology

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