Article

The well-being of the overemployed and the underemployed and the rise in depression in the UK

Citation

Bell DNF & Blanchflower DG (2019) The well-being of the overemployed and the underemployed and the rise in depression in the UK. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 161, pp. 180-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.03.018

Abstract
In this paper we build on our earlier work on underemployment using data from the UK. We focus on the effects on well-being of worker dissatisfaction with hours of work. We make use of five main measures of well-being: happiness; life satisfaction; whether life is worthwhile; anxiety and depression. The more that actual hours differ from preferred hours the lower is a worker's well-being. This is true for those who say they want more hours (the underemployed) and those who say they want less (the over employed). We find strong evidence of a rise in depression and anxiety in the years since the onset of austerity in 2010 in the UK that is not matched by declines in happiness measures. The fear of unemployment obtained from monthly surveys from the EU for the UK has also been on the rise since 2015. We report an especially large rise in anxiety and depression among workers in general and the underemployed in particular. The underemployed don't want to be underemployed.

Keywords
Underemployment; Overemployment; Well-being; Mental health; Happiness; Depression; Anxiety

Journal
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization: Volume 161

StatusPublished
Publication date31/05/2019
Publication date online16/04/2019
Date accepted by journal20/03/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/29443
ISSN0167-2681