New Work on Scarring Effects on Unemployment in Europe

Our work on scarring effects of unemployment was recently published in the Social Science Journal. The full paper is available here.

The scarring effect of unemployment on psychological well-being across Europe.

Author information
Past unemployment may have a pervasive psychological impact that occurs across nations. We investigate the association between unemployment events across working life and subsequent psychological well-being across 14 European countries. Additionally, we consider the influence of between-country differences in labour market institutions and conditions on the cross-country well-being effects of unemployment. Data detailing life-long employment trajectories and contemporary life conditions are drawn from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The well-being impact of unemployment is modeled using linear, multi-level specifications. Each six-month spell of past unemployment is found to predict reduced quality of life and life satisfaction after the age of 50, having adjusted for a broad range of individual and country-specific covariates. In contrast, the impact of past unemployment on depression is explained by individual demographic factors. We identify the first comparative long-term evidence that unemployment welfare scarring may be a broad, international phenomenon.

Cross-country survey; Depression; Life satisfaction; Psychological scarring; Quality of life; Unemployment