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Non-employment, ill-being and subjective well-being


Kapitány, Zsuzsa (2009). Non-employment, ill-being and subjective well-being. IEHAS Discussion Papers MT-DP – 2009/22.


Recent happiness studies by economists, sociologist and psychologists have produced many important new approaches and attitudes to focus less on objective variables and more on subjective well-being (SWB). Studies investigating life satisfaction (as a proxy of SWB) have identified strong relations with income, labour market status and health state. In this literature review we try to be acquainted with and analyse the dynamic effect of income, health state (ill-being) and labour market status (non-employment) on SWB. Studies collected together have numbers of evidence suggesting that money (own and others’) really does matter, and subjective health state (ill-being) and non-employment status are strongly and negatively associated with SWB. The connection between SWB and health, SWB and employment, as well as health and employment has been widely investigated in the literature. However, the dynamics of poor health and non-employment, and their interrelation with SWB were rarely analysed. The review also deals with a range of methodological problems and contradictory evidence concerning the direction of causality between the investigated variables. Our research motivation is quite clear as Hungary is “unique” among the developed market economies and the transition countries with respect to some features: Hungary has almost the lowest employment rate, the highest involuntary early retirement share, the highest mortality rate, and almost the lowest SWB score.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

IEHAS Discussion Papers MT-DP – 2009/22


Kapitány, Zsuzsa