- The Social Norm to Work and the Well-Being of the Short- and Long-Term Unemployed
- Social Indicators Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 139 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Why are the unemployed particularly unhappy in some societies? According to the social norm theory of unemployment, the well-being of the non-employed is lower in countries with a strong social norm to work because of the greater stigma attached to unemployment. In this study, a social norm to work has been defined as the extent to which people expect others to work: do people think the unemployed should take any job they are offered, or should they have a right to refuse? The combined World and European Values Study and the European Social Survey were used to test the theory. Multilevel analyses show that – net of one’s own norm and other measures of the social norm to work, such as one’s personal work ethic – the well-being of unemployed men is lower in countries with a strong social norm to work, in particular that of the long-term unemployed. Overall, it appears that the social norm to work still weighs more heavily upon men than women.
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