Dissatisfied with Life, but Having a Good Day: Time-Use and Well-Being of the Unemployed

44 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2009

See all articles by Andreas Knabe

Andreas Knabe

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Steffen Raetzel

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration

Ronnie Schöb

Freie Universitaet Berlin; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Joachim Weimann

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

We apply the Day Reconstruction Method to compare unemployed and employed people with respect to their subjective assessment of emotional affects, differences in the composition and duration of activities during the course of a day, and their self-reported life satisfaction. Employed persons are more satisfied with their life than the unemployed and report more positive feelings when engaged in similar activities. Weighting these activities with their duration shows, however, that average experienced utility does not differ between the two groups. Although the unemployed feel sadder when engaged in similar activities, they can compensate this by using the time the employed are at work in more enjoyable ways. Our finding that unemployment affects life satisfaction and experienced utility differently may be explained by the fact that people do not adjust their aspirations when becoming unemployed but face hedonic adaptation to changing life circumstances, triggered by the opportunity to use the time in a way that yields higher levels of satisfaction than working.

Keywords: unemployment, happiness, life satisfaction, Day Reconstruction Method, experienced utility

JEL Classification: I31, J60, J22

Suggested Citation

Knabe, Andreas and Raetzel, Steffen and Schöb, Ronnie and Weimann, Joachim, Dissatisfied with Life, but Having a Good Day: Time-Use and Well-Being of the Unemployed (April 1, 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2604. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1379115

Andreas Knabe

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Universitaetsplatz 2
Magdeburg, 39016
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Steffen Raetzel

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Universitaetsplatz 2
Magdeburg, 39016
Germany

Ronnie Schöb (Contact Author)

Freie Universitaet Berlin ( email )

Boltzmannstraße 20
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Joachim Weimann

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg - Institute of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Universitaetsplatz 2
Magdeburg, 39016
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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