Unemployment and attitudes to work: asking the ‘right’ question
Attitudes research has repeatedly demonstrated that the vast majority of unemployed people want a job and that their employment commitment is generally at least as strong as employed people’s. However, until now it has not asked if they are more likely than employed people to prefer unemployment to an unattractive job. While this oversight reflects a noted widespread reluctance to respond directly to right-wing authors’ assertions, this article argues that it is partly attributable to existing studies using survey questions inappropriate for researching unemployment. Responses to the British Cohort Study/National Child Development Study agree/disagree statement ‘having almost any job is better than being unemployed’ were analysed. Being ‘unemployed and seeking work’ associated strongly with disagreeing with the statement across all recent datasets in both studies, even when a number of relevant variables were controlled for.
Citation : Dunn, A., Grasso, M.T. and Saunders, C. (2014) Unemployment and attitudes to work: asking the ‘right’ question. Work, Employment and Society, 28 (6), pp. 904-925
Peer Reviewed : Yes