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September 21, 2006



The interpretation doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Of course people don’t “adapt to unemployment” if they remain unemployed. The way they adapt is by either dropping out of the labor force or becoming self-employed. Since the length of an unemployment spell is not known in advance, longer spells necessarily involve having gotten more bad news. (“I hoped to get a new job in a month. Guess not.” “I hoped to get a job in two months. Guess not.” And so on.) So I would expect people with longer spells to be less satisfied. The fact that they seem almost equally satisfied indicates to me that there is an emotional adaptation effect counterweighting the bad news effect. (OK, I’m contradicting myself, but…at least one of my points must have some merit)

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