More cracks in the stereotypical view of poor people as freeloaders: it turns out unemployment benefits don’t diminish a person’s motivation to find work. Just the opposite, in fact.
In a post on BillMoyers.com, Joshua Holland shared the findings from a multinational study by Jan Eichhorn, a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh. The study was published in the October issue of Social Indicators Research.
The key finding was that the generosity of unemployment benefits had no effect at all on people’s drive to go out and try to find a job. “This means that claims about unemployment beneﬁts resulting in complacent unemployed people who chose the situation and would be satisﬁed with it cannot be retained uncritically,” [Eichhorn] wrote.
This confirms similar findings from a 2011 study by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, which found that people who qualify for unemployment benefits actually spend more time looking for jobs than those who don’t quality.
In short, when society gives its most vulnerable members a hand up, they are more likely to demonstrate a strong work ethic, not less.