News In Brief

Study: Jobless are happier when friends are jobless, too

Melissa Kaplan Jun 4, 2010

From the Department of Misery Loves Company: The World Bank released a study that says the unemployed feel better when their friends are in the same boat (PDF). Happiness increases from the jobless’ initial lows “when they are surrounded by unemployed peers, an effect called the ‘social norm’.”

More: Strong jobs numbers mean more investor risk

The study focused on a control set within the U.K. population with data from the British Household Panel Survey. The study also found that, on top of an improved mood, the unemployed in the company of unemployed friends will have decreased motivation to find more work. Generally, the more unhappy the unemployed worker, the more intensely the worker will seek new employment.

Otherwise, the culture of satisfied jobless people will influence each other’s duration of joblessness — i.e., a cycle of contented employment apathy. Info to consider if you’re hanging with the jobless crowd and want to get out of your situation.

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