Category Archives: Unemployment/Job search

Unhappiness in Unemployment: Is it the Same for Everyone?

Many studies have shown that there is a general tendency for men’s subjective wellbeing to be more badly affected by unemployment when compared to women, although the extent varies across countries. The existing literature notes the gender differences and offers possible explanations, but does not formally compare competing hypotheses. We analyse whether gender differences in life satisfaction associated with the experience of unemployment can be attributed to degrees of specialisation in the labour market, differences in the types of work undertaken by men and women, differences in personality traits, work identity or gender norms. We find that it is not all, but some, women who suffer less than men when experiencing a transition into unemployment. The experience of unemployment for women is differentiated by pay, work identity and, most powerfully, gender attitudes.

Longhi S., Nandi A., Bryan M., Connolly S. Gedikli C. (2018) Unhappiness in Unemployment: Is it the Same for Everyone?  Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series no. 2018007.
Also appeared as a Research Report on Gender and Unemployment for the What Works Wellbeing Centre.

A Longitudinal Analysis of Ethnic Unemployment Differentials in the UK

As in many developed countries, in the UK the unemployment rate of ethnic minorities is higher than the unemployment rate of the white British majority. These differences may be due to a higher probability of ethnic minorities entering unemployment by losing a job, or to a lower probability of exiting unemployment by finding a job. Using Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, this paper analyses what individual and job characteristics contribute to job loss, what contribute to job finding, and to what extent ethnic unemployment differentials can be explained by such characteristics.

For both men and women the results show no relevant ethnic differences in the probability to transition from a paid job into unemployment. Only Indian UK born women seem more likely to transition than white British majority women, while for other groups the small differences are in favour of ethnic minorities. Segregation in occupations characterised by low wages and less stable jobs does not seem to contribute to the higher unemployment rate of ethnic minorities. The main determinant of ethnic unemployment differentials seems to be the longer duration of unemployment for ethnic minorities, which, however, remains largely unexplained after the inclusion of individual and household characteristics.

Longhi S. (forthcoming) A Longitudinal Analysis of Ethnic Unemployment Differentials in the UK, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Couples’ Response to Job Loss: Boom and Recession Compared

We examine whether couples in the UK increase labour supply to cushion the fall in earnings from a job loss, comparing periods of growth and recession. We consider both male and female earners and various dimensions of labour supply adjustment. We find evidence of labour supply reactions, but they can be negative as well as positive, particularly at the extensive margin. During the recession, household reactions are either unchanged or couples increase their labour market attachment, with bigger positive reactions and smaller negative ones. People do not react in advance of job losses, suggesting that unemployment is a surprise.

Bryan M., Longhi S. (2018) Couples’ Response to Job Loss: Boom and Recession Compared, The Manchester School, 86(3) 333-357.

Employed and Unemployed Job Seekers and the Business Cycle

The job search literature suggests that on‐the‐job search reduces the probability of un employed people finding jobs. However, there is little evidence that employed and unemployed job seekers are similar or apply for the same jobs. We compare employed and unemployed job seekers in their individual characteristics, preferences over working hours, job‐search strategies and employment histories, and identify how differences vary over the business cycle. We find systematic differences which persist over the business cycle. Our results are consistent with a segmented labour market in which employed and unemployed job seekers are unlikely to directly compete with each other for jobs.

Longhi S., Taylor M. (2014) Employed and Unemployed Job Seekers and the Business Cycle, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 76(4) 463-483.

Long version: ISER Working Paper 2013-02.

Occupational Change and Mobility among Employed and Unemployed Job Seekers

We use data from the Labour Force Survey to show that employed and unemployed job seekers in Great Britain originate from different occupations and find jobs in different occupations. We find substantial differences in occupational mobility between job seekers: employed job seekers are most likely to move to occupations paying higher average wages relative to their previous occupation, while unemployed job seekers are most likely to move to lower paying occupations. Employed and unemployed job seekers exhibit different patterns of occupational mobility and, therefore, do not accept the same types of jobs.

Longhi S., Taylor M. (2013) Occupational Change and Mobility among Employed and Unemployed Job Seekers, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 60(1) 71-100.