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Unemployment, [Re]employment, and Wellbeing

Friday June 15, 2018 at 8:30 AM PT, 11:30 AM ET
Recorded in June 2018


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For Professionals looking for Credit, complete the On Demand Webinar Course​ for a certificate of completion​.​

People who lose their jobs lose their incomes. But what are the broader effects of unemployment on the wellbeing of individuals and their families? Do the effects differ across people and contexts? Can anything reduce the damaging effects of unemployment and does wellbeing rebound when people get back into work? Looking in the opposite direction, do changes in wellbeing affect people's chances of re-employment or broader employment prospects? These questions and more are considered in this webinar which looks at the complex two-way links between unemployment, re-employment and wellbeing. We present the best global evidence based on a systematic review of studies that used large-scale, nationally-representative surveys to estimate the causal effects of employment transitions on wellbeing and vice-versa.  The webinar will cover various measures of wellbeing, including life satisfaction, assessments of mental health, and self-esteem. We will illustrate the key messages with examples from the research literature. ​

You will learn:
  • How we measure subjective wellbeing
  • The main determinants of wellbeing and why unemployment matters
  • What we mean by "causal evidence"
  • The dynamics of the impact of unemployment on wellbeing: do people recover over time or do they suffer the scars?
  • How unemployment impacts the wellbeing of spouses
  • Whether men and women are equally affected
  • The roles of social capital, norms, and social support in buffering the effect of unemployment on wellbeing
  • The importance of job quality in the employment-wellbeing relationship
  • The impact of wellbeing on job prospects and return to work
Take away messages:​
  • ​Wellbeing declines on job loss and does not recover (there is little or no adaptation)
  • Wellbeing may even decline further for young people.
  • Even after re-employment, past unemployment has a scarring effect on wellbeing
  • Re-employment is good for wellbeing - but less good if the new job is low quality
  • Unemployment also affects the spouse's wellbeing (especially female spouses)
  • Effects of unemployment transitions on wellbeing appear bigger for men than women
  • Women with more gender-egalitarian attitudes suffer more from unemployment
  • The impact of unemployment on wellbeing depends on social norms around work
  • Social support can buffer the effect of unemployment on wellbeing
  • Promote high-quality, sustainable jobs: the right job not just any job​

Mark Bryan PhD​ 

Reader in Economics, University of Sheffield

Dr. Bryan's research interests centre on labour and household economics, statistical methods and micro-econometrics, and wellbeing. He has worked on topics such as flexible work, the impact of housework on wages, the minimum wage, the gender pay gap, pension saving and training. Ongoing work includes studies of couples' responses to the recession, the coordination of their work schedules, and the impact of work identity and hours of work on subjective wellbeing.

Dr. Bryan is a theme co-lead at the Work, Learning and Wellbeing evidence programme of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The Centre reviews existing evidence and carries out original research in order to advise the government, voluntary and business sectors on the most effective ways to increase levels of wellbeing in the population.

After completing his MSc in Economics at the University of Warwick, Dr. Bryan joined the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex in 2000 as a Senior Research Officer. He completed his PhD in Economics by part-time study in 2005, and was promoted to Chief Research Officer in 2004 and then Senior Research Fellow in 2008.

During his time at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Dr. Bryan worked on a mix of academic research and policy-related projects for government departments and other organisations. He also worked on the Understanding Society panel study and taught panel data methods both at MSc level and as part of the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis.

Dr. Bryan joined the University of Sheffield as a Reader in Economics in September 2015. As of 2016, he is Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes.​


Last Modified: 1/26/2018 3:58 PM