Social Indicators Research

, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 537–565 | Cite as

Self-Reported Satisfaction and the Economic Crisis of 2007–2010: Or How People in the UK and Germany Perceive a Severe Cyclical Downturn

  • Antje MertensEmail author
  • Miriam Beblo


Self-reported satisfaction measures respond to a great variety of socio-demographic characteristics as well as the job and living environment. In this paper we ask whether the recent financial market crisis has caused a deterioration of satisfaction not only for the unemployed but also for those out of the labour force and especially those in employment. The focus of our analyses is on the pattern of life, job and health satisfaction over time and the influence of unemployment rates, inflation rates and GDP growth. We compare the UK and Germany, two countries with different employment protection regulations and different consequences of the crisis for the labour market. For our analysis we use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and the British Household Panel Study for the period 1996–2010 and supplement this with annual information on macroeconomic indicators. We estimate Ordered Logit and OLS models, both with individual fixed effects. We find some limited psychological costs with respect to self-reported life satisfaction in the crisis years, and a considerable impact of regional and national unemployment rates. Looking at job and health satisfaction we get similar though somewhat weaker results.


Happiness Life satisfaction Subjective well-being Business cycles Crisis 



We thank Julia Schneider and an anonymous referee for intensive proof reading and helpful comments as well as participants of the 2012 Meeting of the Royal Scottish Society, the Health@Work EU-project meeting in Thessaloniki, the FINEC workshop in Berlin, the IWH Workshop on Quality of Work 2011 and the 2012 Conference of the Verein für Socialpolitik for discussion of earlier versions. Financial support of the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, Theme HEALTH-2007-4.2-3 (Grant Agreement No.: 200716) is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty 2Berlin School of Economics and LawBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Fakultät Wirtschafts- und SozialwissenschaftenUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany

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