Attitudes to work and time spent unemployed across 30 years

Andrew Dunn

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Empirical studies have not previously related people's work attitudes to their chances of being unemployed for a substantial proportion of their lives. This study uses 1958 and 1970 British birth cohorts to show that responses to attitude questions offering a choice between an unattractive or disliked job and joblessness rival established unemployment risk variables as predictors of time spent unemployed between ages 16 and 46. The findings may help justify the provisions of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 for compelling unemployed benefit claimants to apply for, and subsequently retain, jobs they would otherwise have ruled out.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
JournalEconomic Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


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