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Recession and Well-Being

Mark Tausig and Rudy Fenwick
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 1-16
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2676375
Page Count: 16
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Recession and Well-Being
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Abstract

In this paper we address two related questions: how much do economic recessions affect the aggregate well-being of a population, and by what means? Using data from the 1973-77 Quality of Employment Panel of full-time workers who experienced the 1974-75 recession (N = 830), we answer these questions by using an analytic procedure that allows us to determine the percentage of total aggregate (mean) change in well-being attributable to various changes in sociodemographic statuses, labor market positions, and job characteristics. Results from this procedure showed significant increases in the mean levels of distress and dissatisfaction for this sample and that the largest percentages of change were accounted for by changes in job characteristics. about 20 percent of the total change in distress and 47 percent of the total change for dissatisfaction. In particular, increased job demands and increasingly inadequate pay made substantial contributions, with the latter alone accounting for a quarter of the total change in dissatisfaction. Unemployment experiences also contributed substantial, but smaller, percentages to the change in distress (10 percent).

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