New University of Minnesota research examines how the perception of unemployment benefits — including the amount and duration of support — affects how people who are unemployed approach their job search.
“We set out to understand how people’s perception of this benefit affects not only how intense their job search was, but also how quickly they are reemployed, the quality of the job they were hired for, and their mental health during their search,” said Connie Wanberg, lead author of this study and professor in the Department of Work and Organizations in the Carlson School of Management.
Published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers examined three countries with various levels of unemployment benefits provided to citizens:
“What we found is that the perception of time by job seekers plays a critical role,” said Wanberg. “Depending on how much a person’s unemployment benefits are and for how long they last, it impacts how a job seeker thinks about time and when they begin their job search.”
Specifically, the study found:
“For a job seeker who receives less benefits, they reported feeling a more significant time pressure to find a job due to increased financial strain,” said Wanberg. “On one hand, they began working more quickly. On the other, they reported poorer mental health conditions and were less likely to find a suitable job that fit their needs.”
This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (00036029) and by an Open Research Area Grant (464-13-046) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and by the German Research Foundation.