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Residential location choices of an isolated workforce

Shifts in social attachment of former seafarers

Abstract

Seafarers work in nomadic isolated work settings and are more likely to suffer from stress and fatigue in the workplace. Their work has thus been argued to have detrimental effects on their partner relationships. This paper forwards the idea that work conditions of seafarers may lead to social detachment from their close social relations (e.g. family) and that these specifically cause seafarers to exhibit a different behaviour in terms of one of the most important decisions they make when coming ashore — residential location choice. Our empirical analysis of former Danish seafarers and a sample of matched traditional workers suggests that individuals who until recently worked as seafarer to a lesser extent rely on family-based social relations than traditional workers when making residential location choices. They chose to locate close to their former peers, suggesting a shift in social attachments. The isolated lifestyles of seafarers influence social attachment. Geographic distances and social contexts are shown to interact and affect their choice of residential location. This has implications for our understanding of the well-being of seafarers and may offer new aspects on the recent development of the work conditions of seafarers.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the Danish Maritime Authority providing access to the micro data on seafarers. We also extend thanks to the Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research (SCANCOR) at Stanford University, the Center for Shipping Economics and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School, and the Danish Maritime Fund for support. The authors gratefully acknowledge comments and suggestions from John-Paul Ferguson, Olav Sorenson, Keld Laursen, Ammon J. Salter, Thomas Rœnde, and Mads M. Jæger. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Toke Reichstein.

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Isakson, C.D., Dahl, M.S. & Reichstein, T. Residential location choices of an isolated workforce. Maritime Studies 21, 353–362 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-022-00275-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-022-00275-0

Keywords

  • Residential location choice
  • Social attachment
  • Mobility
  • Social ties
  • Peers
  • Seafarers