Wellbeing, Employment and Gender in a Systematic Comparison of Institutional Contexts across Europe

K Ecker, Magister programme candiate, Umeå University

This thesis examines gender differences in unemployment experiences in 30 European countries. Multilevel regression analysis is used to test whether the effect of not working on wellbeing is moderated by gender, and if this moderation varies between national contexts. Based on the premise that needs for and financial and psychological benefits of employment differ for men and women, institutionalized gender roles regarding employment and family commitment are assessed as a theoretical explanation for cross-country divergences. The results indicate that not being in work is associated with lower wellbeing and more so for men than for women. Overall, the moderating effect of gender varies with gender differences in labour force participation, yet this cross-national variation cannot be observed when controlling for subjective income. These initial findings demonstrate possibilities for further, in-depth research in this area.

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