English title: The financial crisis in Europe: Impact on satisfaction with life

Author(s): Jocelyne Clench-Aas - Arne Holte -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2017


Background: The 2008 financial crisis in Europe came abruptly and surprisingly. Many countries also suffered a second recession during the period 2010–2012. We examined the impact of the crisis on life satisfaction (LS) by country and individual socioeconomic level. Method: We used a representative sample from the European Social Survey (2002–2014)with data from 26 countries (N = 294,407). LS was measured with a single question with 11 response alternatives. Time from start of crisis (either 2008 or 2010-2012) was determined separately for each interview. Data were analyzed by multilevel analysis Results: There was a sharp decrease in LS in the beginning of the crisis in 2008, and another, but not so severe, decline in 2011, each of them of short duration. However, there was also a slight and progressive yearly decrease in LS that continued one to at least 3 years after either financial crisis that was independent of the effect of being unemployed. Associations varied considerably between countries. A negative decline after the financial crisis was especially evident among those in the most educated groups, and in those in the higher occupational levels. Conclusions: The 2008 financial crisis had a double effect on LS:(1) a sharp short-term decrease consistent with the Easterlin paradox; (2) a slighter long-term progressive decrease that was over and above the strong negative relationship with unemployment that lasted several years. The long-term decline in LS after the start of the financial crisis tended to occur especially in the higher socioeconomic groups.

Volume: 45

Issue: 18

From page no: 30

To page no: 40

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/1403494817718692

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health