Het littekeneffect: de blijvende invloed van langdurige werkloosheid op welzijn | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


The scarring effect: the lasting impact of long-term unemployment on wellbeing

In this article we answer the question whether the scarring effect of unemployment lasts into retirement. This is an interesting question because the answer provides insights into the explanation of this scarring effect. If pensioners are scarred by unemployment than this suggests that the scar is caused by a loss of self-esteem. If pensioners don't have the scar than this suggests that the scar among employed is explained by either a scaring effect or by not abiding social norms. Our multilevel analyses of data for 25 countries that participated in the European Social Survey showed that pensioners do have such a scar. Pensioners who have been unemployed for at least three months have a lower level of subjective well-being than pensioners who were never unemployed. This shows that unemployment coincides with a loss of self-esteem. It is an additional argument why governments should give a higher level of priority in combatting unemployment to avoid social losses, not only for the unemployed but for the pensioners as well.


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