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Are there Geographical Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?

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Are certain groups of unemployed individuals hurt less by unemployment than others? This paper is an attempt to test the hypothesis that non-pecuniary costs of unemployment may vary between societies with different unemployment rates. Using cross-sectional data from the SALDRU93 survey, I show that households’ perceptions of life satisfaction are inversely related to household unemployment for South Africa as to be expected in richer countries. Reported well-being levels are shown to be associated negatively with others’ unemployment at the geographical cluster level for the employed. However, unemployment appears to hurt less for the household if unemployment rates in the local labour market are high.

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Correspondence to Nattavudh Powdthavee.

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Powdthavee, N. Are there Geographical Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?. Soc Indic Res 80, 629–652 (2007).

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