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June 22, 2023: Andreas Knabe (Universität Magdeburg)

Social Contacts, Unemployment, and Experienced Well-being. Evidence from Time-Use Data  

We use the UK Time-Use Survey to analyze how differences in the frequency and intensity of social contacts contribute to the experienced well-being of employed and unemployed persons. We observe that people generally enjoy being with others more than being alone. The unemployed generally feel worse than the employed when engaging in the same kind of activities, partly because they are more often alone. The unemployed can replace lost work contacts only partially with private contacts. In terms of experienced well-being, however, the small increase in time spent with family and friends (which people enjoy a lot) offsets the loss of work contacts (which people generally enjoy only little). Hence, we do not find that the differences in the social-contact composition between the employed and the unemployed are associated with differences in their experienced well-being.