An economic analysis of the impact of the labour market on family well-being

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Copyright: Mendolia, Silvia
This thesis consists of three chapters looking at the impact of various problematic labour market conditions on the well-being of the family. The first two chapters analyse the impact of husband's job loss on the risk of family dissolution and on partner mental health. The negative income shock can affect the mental health status of the individual, who directly experiences such displacement, as well as the psychological well-being of her/his partner; also, job loss may have a significantly detrimental effect on life satisfaction, self-esteem and on the individual's perceived role in society. Lastly, a job displacement may convey new information about potential future earnings and the quality of the match. The analysis is based on the sample of married and cohabiting couples from the British Household Panel Survey and data from employment histories is utilised to distinguish redundancies (different from dismissals) in declining industries, which are less likely to represent signals of unfavourable individual traits. Results show evidence that couples in which the husband experiences a job loss are more likely to experience poor mental health and are exposed to a higher risk of dissolution following the job loss, but results are different for various types of job loss. Job loss is only one possible example of mismatch between actual and desired working conditions. The third chapter of this thesis investigates how maternal employment is related to various indicators of well-being in children aged 11-15. Particularly, I focus on the impact of maternal long hours of work (for mothers in paid employment) on children's health behaviours (incidence of smoking), and psychological well-being. The analysis uses the sample of mothers and adolescents in the British Household Panel Survey and the British Youth Panel. Various techniques are used to control for potential endogeneity of working hours (including the use of sibling fixed effects estimators) and special attention is paid to maternal preferences over hours of work. Results suggest that maternal very long hours of work are particularly harmful for children coming from advantaged socio-economic status, especially when the mother is not satisfied with her hours of work.
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Mendolia, Silvia
Doiron, Denise
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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