Volume 40 - Article 31 | Pages 897–932  

Job insecurity and parental well-being: The role of parenthood and family factors

By Doris Hanappi, Oliver Lipps

This article is part of the Special Collection 31 "The new roles of women and men and implications for families and societies"


Background: The consequences of job loss for subjective well-being are widely known. Yet, the subjective well-being of parents who fear that they might lose their jobs has received much less attention.

Objective: We analyze how changes in job insecurity are associated with parental subjective well-being. We further provide insight into the impact of parenthood and varying childbearing demands, as well as potential accumulative dynamics.

Methods: Using data from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP) (2000–2016; N = 7,167), we apply fixed-effects models to estimate deviations of well-being from the individual-specific mean. Our analytic sample comprises a total of 43,276 person years.

Results: We replicate the overall well-being response surrounding the experiences of job insecurity and unemployment, and we provide evidence for variation in subjective well-being over the parental life-cycle.

Conclusions: The divergence in the well-being responses around raising a newborn or infant versus older children may affect fertility timing and the optimal number of children to have. The results also reveal gender-specific effects and hint at the new role of women in paid labor, but they indicate that the ‘old’ role of men as breadwinners has not changed dramatically.

Contribution: We suggest that how people cope with job insecurity and unemployment depends on individual characteristics and less so on the joys or challenges of parenthood. This is consistent with the fertility behavior that emerged in developed countries during the second demographic transition.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The wage penalty for motherhood: Evidence on discrimination from panel data and a survey experiment for Switzerland
Volume 37 - Article 56

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