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lancelotarnold

Effects and Costs (Individual & Social)

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Effects
High and persistent unemployment, in which economic inequality increases, has a negative effect on subsequent long-run economic growth. Unemployment can harm growth not only because it is a waste of resources, but also because it generates redistributive pressures and subsequent distortions, drives people to poverty, constrains liquidity limiting labor mobility, and erodes self-esteem promoting social dislocation, unrest and conflict. 2013 Economics Nobel prize winner Robert J. Shiller said that rising inequality in the United States and elsewhere is the most important problem.

Costs
Individual

Unemployed individuals are unable to earn money to meet financial obligations. Failure to pay mortgage payments or to pay rent may lead to homelessness through foreclosure or eviction. Across the United States the growing ranks of people made homeless in the foreclosure crisis are generating tent cities.

Unemployment increases susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, somatization, anxiety disorders, depression, and suicide. In addition, unemployed people have higher rates of medication use, poor diet, physician visits, tobacco smoking, alcoholic beverage consumption, drug use, and lower rates of exercise. According to a study published in Social Indicator Research, even those who tend to be optimistic find it difficult to look on the bright side of things when unemployed. Using interviews and data from German participants aged 16 to 94—including individuals coping with the stresses of real life and not just a volunteering student population—the researchers determined that even optimists struggled with being unemployed.

In 1979, Brenner found that for every 10% increase in the number of unemployed there is an increase of 1.2% in total mortality, a 1.7% increase in cardiovascular disease, 1.3% more cirrhosis cases, 1.7% more suicides, 4.0% more arrests, and 0.8% more assaults reported to the police.

A study by Ruhm, in 2000, on the effect of recessions on health found that several measures of health actually improve during recessions. As for the impact of an economic downturn on crime, during the Great Depression the crime rate did not decrease. The unemployed in the U.S. often use welfare programs such as Food Stamps or accumulating debt because unemployment insurance in the U.S. generally does not replace a majority of the income one received on the job (and one cannot receive such aid indefinitely).

Not everyone suffers equally from unemployment. In a prospective study of 9570 individuals over four years, highly conscientious people suffered more than twice as much if they became unemployed. The authors suggested this may be due to conscientious people making different attributions about why they became unemployed, or through experiencing stronger reactions following failure. There is also possibility of reverse causality from poor health to unemployment.

Some researchers hold that many of the low-income jobs are not really a better option than unemployment with a welfare state (with its unemployment insurance benefits). But since it is difficult or impossible to get unemployment insurance benefits without having worked in the past, these jobs and unemployment are more complementary than they are substitutes. (These jobs are often held short-term, either by students or by those trying to gain experience; turnover in most low-paying jobs is high.)

Another cost for the unemployed is that the combination of unemployment, lack of financial resources, and social responsibilities may push unemployed workers to take jobs that do not fit their skills or allow them to use their talents. Unemployment can cause underemployment, and fear of job loss can spur psychological anxiety. As well as anxiety, it can cause depression, lack of confidence, and huge amounts of stress. This stress is increased when the unemployed are faced with health issues, poverty, and lack of relational support.
 

Another personal cost of unemployment is its impact on relationships. A 2008 study from Covizzi, which examines the relationship between unemployment and divorce, found that the rate of divorce is greater for couples when one partner is unemployed. However, a more recent study has found that some couples often stick together in "unhappy" or "unhealthy" marriages when unemployed to buffer financial costs. A 2014 study by Van der Meer found that the stigma that comes from being unemployed affects personal well-being, especially for men, who often feel as though their masculine identities are threatened by unemployment.

Unemployment can also bring personal costs in relation to gender. One study found that women are more likely to experience unemployment than men and that they are less likely to move from temporary positions to permanent positions. Another study on gender and unemployment found that men, however, are more likely to experience greater stress, depression, and adverse effects from unemployment, largely stemming from the perceived threat to their role as breadwinner. This study found that men expect themselves to be viewed as "less manly" after a job loss than they actually are, and as a result they engage in compensating behaviors, such as financial risk-taking and increased assertiveness, because of it.

Costs of unemployment also vary depending on age. The young and the old are the two largest age groups currently experiencing unemployment. A 2007 study from Jacob and Kleinert found that young people (ages 18 to 24) who have fewer resources and limited work experiences are more likely to be unemployed. Other researchers have found that today’s high school seniors place a lower value on work than those in the past, and this is likely because they recognize the limited availability of jobs. At the other end of the age spectrum, studies have found that older individuals have more barriers than younger workers to employment, require stronger social networks to acquire work, and are also less likely to move from temporary to permanent positions.[84][84][86] Additionally, some older people see age discrimination as the reason they are not getting hired.

Social

An economy with high unemployment is not using all of the resources, specifically labour, available to it. Since it is operating below its production possibility frontier, it could have higher output if all the workforce were usefully employed. However, there is a trade-off between economic efficiency and unemployment: if the frictionally unemployed accepted the first job they were offered, they would be likely to be operating at below their skill level, reducing the economy's efficiency.

During a long period of unemployment, workers can lose their skills, causing a loss of human capital. Being unemployed can also reduce the life expectancy of workers by about seven years.

High unemployment can encourage xenophobia and protectionism as workers fear that foreigners are stealing their jobs. Efforts to preserve existing jobs of domestic and native workers include legal barriers against "outsiders" who want jobs, obstacles to immigration, and/or tariffs and similar trade barriers against foreign competitors.

High unemployment can also cause social problems such as crime; if people have less disposable income than before, it is very likely that crime levels within the economy will increase.

A 2015 study published in The Lancet, estimates that unemployment causes 45,000 suicides a year globally.

Socio-political

High levels of unemployment can be causes of civil unrest,  in some cases leading to revolution, and particularly totalitarianism. The fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933 and Adolf Hitler's rise to power, which culminated in World War II and the deaths of tens of millions and the destruction of much of the physical capital of Europe, is attributed to the poor economic conditions in Germany at the time, notably a high unemployment rate of above 20%; see Great Depression in Central Europe for details.

Note that the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic is not directly blamed for the Nazi rise—the Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic occurred primarily in the period 1921–23, which was contemporary with Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, and is blamed for damaging the credibility of democratic institutions, but the Nazis did not assume government until 1933, ten years after the hyperinflation but in the midst of high unemployment.

Rising unemployment has traditionally been regarded by the public and media in any country as a key guarantor of electoral defeat for any government which oversees it. This was very much the consensus in the United Kingdom until 1983, when Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government won a landslide in the general election, despite overseeing a rise in unemployment from 1,500,000 to 3,200,000 since its election four years earlier.

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