How facing financial difficulties decreases life satisfaction
In a recent publication with data from the Swiss Household Panel, Piotr Białowolski shows that frequently occurring problems with debts have a negative impact on satisfaction with household’s financial situation and general life satisfaction of the reference person. The author further demonstrates that various coping strategies with financial difficulties have differential effects. Particularly, long-term solutions such as limiting the household consumption to essentials as well as looking for a second job do not have negative effects on life satisfaction. In contrast, short-term measures like a bank credit, the selling of valuables or the borrowing from friends and relatives aggravate the negative effect of financial difficulties. The full article can be accessed here.
The need for and use of panel data
Hans-Jürgen Andreß has recently published an article about the need and use of panel data. He gives an overview over the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal surveys such as the Swiss Household Panel. On the pro-side he describes panel surveys as an invaluable tool to counter numerous types of biases that can be inherent to conclusions from other data structures. Moreover, with panel data the temporal order of possible causes of a given effect is known through repeated measurements at the individual level, which means that causal conclusions and policy recommendations have a much sounder grounding. On the con-side, panel data requires a considerable amount of financial and human resources, and provides a serious challenge to survey researchers to keep the data representative and comparable over time. For more information see the full article here.
Does marriage really promote adult health?
Matthijs Kalmijn questioned the positive link between marriage and health that has frequently been analyzed and typically been interpreted in terms of health protection. Based on 16 years of data from the Swiss Household Panel, he compared the effects of marriage entry and marriage exit on health and assessed their long-term effects. Results demonstrated that marriage improves and divorce reduces some dimensions of health, especially life satisfaction. However, the impact of divorce is much stronger than the impact of marriage entry. Concerning the long-term effects, the author observed that individuals adapt to their new state and over the years approximate their pre-marriage or pre-divorce health. The full article is available here. See also the newspaper article in The New York Times that has picked up this piece of research.
How do changes in employment uncertainty matter for fertility intentions?
Recent below-replacement fertility has prompted an animated debate among demographers seeking a better understanding of childbearing intentions. A recent article from Doris Hanappi and colleagues shed lights on how changes in employment uncertainty are related to individual childbearing decisions. Based on the SHP, results show strong gendered effects of changes in employment uncertainty on the revision of reproductive decisions among the highly educated population. For highly educated individuals it has been shown that worsening employment conditions of men and women facilitate abandonment of child intention, and women’s worsening employment conditions motivate postponement of child intention as well. But the association between women’s improved employment conditions and their fertility intentions is less straightforward. Finally, women’s improved employment conditions are conducive to childbearing but men’s improved employment conditions are not found to encourage childbearing. Detailed results are available here.
9th International Conference of Panel Data Users: Registration open
We are pleased to announce that the registration to the 9th International Conference of Panel Data Users is now open. The conference will take place at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland on June 6-8, 2017. You can click here for the scientific programme and here for further information and to register for the conference. Please take note that this year, we added a third day to the conference (June 8) where we offer the opportunity to participate in a workshop on the use of SHP weights. Click here to register for the workshop only.
How health events affect smoking behavior
Applying a discrete time hazard model on data of the Swiss Household Panel, Christian Bünnings addressed the question whether health problems motivate smokers to quit and whether behavioral change depends on the type of health event experienced. The author distinguished between three types of health events: physical problems, mental disorders and accidents. The results reveal that physical and mental health issues indeed influenced smoking behavior. While physical problems increased the probability of smoking cessation, mental disorders reduced this probability. The author assumes that smoking is one way of coping with mental illness. In contrast, no change in smoking behavior was observed after an accident occurred. The full text can be found here.
Mothers’ employment in Switzerland and West Germany
In her latest publication, Lena Liechti has analysed the impact of mothers’ education and her partners’ income on maternal employment from the second to the fourth year after childbirth. Based on data from the Swiss Household Panel and the German Socio-Economic Panel she compared Switzerland with West Germany. The author expected that the more familialistic policies in West Germany widen the educational gap in maternal employment, by selectively encouraging less educated mothers to stay at home. The familialistic policies were also expected to lower the economic pressure on low-income families to have a second income, thus diminishing the impact of partners’ income on mothers’ employment. Results confirm this expectation only within the fourth year after childbirth but not within the years before. This is surprising, as the main differences between Switzerland and West Germany with respect to family policies refer to the first three years after childbirth. The full-text is available here.
New data available: release of wave 17
The 17th wave of the SHP data is now available. Check out the SHP_I data for the years 1999 through 2015, the SHP_II data for the years 2004 through 2015, the SHP interviewer data for the years 2000, and 2003 to 2015 as well as additional data such as imputed income data and new variables. In addition, there are the new SHP LIVES – Vaud data for the years 2013 and 2014 and LIVES Cohort data for the year 2013. We strongly recommend that all users, also those who analyze previous waves, download the newest 2016 release as we constantly improve the quality of our data.
9th International Conference of Panel Data Users: Call for abstracts
We are pleased to announce that the 9th International Conference of Panel Data Users in Switzerland will take place at the University of Lausanne on June 6 and 7, 2017. Please find our call for abstracts here.
Becoming a parent: more challenging for people with busy lifestyles
Anne Roeters, Jornt Mandemakers and Marieke Voorpostel examined how becoming a parent affects wellbeing among mothers and fathers in Switzerland, and whether work hours and the leisure activities they engaged in prior to parenthood mattered. They found that men with an active lifestyle reported a decrease in wellbeing following the birth of their first child, whereas men with fewer leisure activities did not show such a decline. Women generally showed an increase in wellbeing following childbirth, but this increase was less strong if they combined long work hours with an active lifestyle before parenthood. The study supports the idea that busy individuals face more adaptations to their daily lives when becoming a parent, negatively affecting their happiness as new parents. The full text can be downloaded here.
Swiss Longitudinal Data Fair, University of Bern, 27th of January 2017
Searching for the right longitudinal data for your doctoral work or new research project? This one-day event will include presentations and posters on various major Swiss longitudinal surveys in the social sciences, including Tree, the Swiss Household Panel, SHARE and CoCon. This will be followed by practical hands-on sessions in the afternoon. Full program will be announced soon. Registration will be required. Limited spots available. For more information and to register click here.
Do arts influence our well-being?
In one of the latest publications based on SHP data, Dorota Węziak-Białowolska addressed the question whether voluntary engagement with arts (playing an instrument, singing, painting or sculpturing) and passive cultural participation (attending the cinema, theater, opera or exhibitions) have an impact on physical health or well-being. In order to estimate causal effects and to control for a possible selection bias she used a propensity score matching procedure with a difference-in-difference approach. Her study showed that voluntary cultural activity of any type, passive or active, did not have any causal influence: long-term health and well-being did not improve significantly as a result of any specific activity in the cultural arena. The full-text can be downloaded here.
Positive and negative affects after the transition to retirement
Based on the Swiss Household Panel, Valérie-Anne Ryser and Boris Wernli investigated from a life course perspective the impact and timing of the transition to retirement on individuals’ positive and negative affects while taking into account their working conditions prior to retirement and their social participation. Results demonstrated that positive work identification is detrimental to affective wellbeing after retirement; conversely precarious working conditions before retirement increase positive affects after retirement. Although to a lesser extent, the timing of retirement and the social participation tend to affect the level of affective well-being. For more information about the heterogeneity in the transition to retirement see the full text here.
Participation in political protest affects the political life of participants
Marco Guigni and Maria Grasso have looked into biographical consequences of activism. They show that participation in protest activities has an impact on the subsequent political life of participants. In particular, previous participation in demonstrations in Switzerland significantly affected participants’ political attitudes and behaviors when they were interviewed a year later. In addition, this impact was also visible later in time, namely fifteen years later. Thus, demonstrating has an important and durable effect on political-life outcomes such as self-placement on the left-right scale, voting for the left, membership in environmental organizations, and party membership. No effect was found for political interest, which is possibly due to the fact that individuals attending demonstrations already come along with very high levels of political interests. The book chapter can be purchased here.
Are lone mothers who work in better health?
Using the data of the Swiss Household Panel, Emanuela Struffolino, Laura Bernardi and Marieke Voorpostel have investigated the question whether lone mothers’ health is better if they work. They found that – in the Swiss context where parents receive little support to reconcile work and family life – lone mothers reported poorer health compared with partnered mothers, especially if they work in small part-time jobs. The authors controlled for the fact that the relationship between work status and self-reported health may vary by level of education. For full text see here.
Understanding hopelessness with SHP data?
Hopelessness is an important predictor of suicidal intentions linked to depression. Thus, it is crucial to consider the different factors that may exacerbate or attenuate hopelessness. According to the ambitious study of Davide Morselli, hopelessness is not only a result of an individual’s social and psychological characteristics but also of the individual’s environment. The author confirms the known association of hopelessness with various individual factors like neuroticism, unemployment or marital break-up. On top of that, however, he shows that individuals living in disadvantaged cantons, i.e. cantons with high levels of unemployment and low levels of shared optimism, were more likely to report hopelessness. Thereby, he points to the contagious nature of emotions and their transmission through social contact and social networks. These findings have important implications for medical interventions as well as for the implementation of policies aiming to reduce socioeconomic disadvantages at the collective level. The full text is available here.
4th SHP workshop
Professor Priscila Ferreira from the University of Minho (Portugal), will give a course on survival analysis with SHP data on 5th to 7th of July 2016 at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. On 4th of July 2016 the SHP team will give a general introduction to the Swiss Household Panel data and present exercises on writing syntaxes, data merging and the construction of specific files such as long or partner files.
Voluntary turnover: a means of reducing perceived job insecurity?
Little is known about the strategies employees adopt to reduce perceived job insecurity. Previous research has shown that voluntary turnover may be such a strategy. Florence Lebert has addressed the question whether employees perceiving high job insecurity report reduced levels of perceived job insecurity following voluntary turnover. Based on SHP data and taking into account individual and family factors she shows that employees with high perceived job insecurity indeed perceive less job insecurity after the change. Whereas the individual factors (gender, age and educational level) turned out to be of subordinate importance the level of financial responsibility influenced the success of voluntary turnover in reducing perceived job insecurity. The full article is available here.
Fieldwork of wave 17 completed
We are happy to announce that the fieldwork of the 17th wave of the SHP has been successfully completed. We managed to conduct a total of 11’190 individual interviews. For the SHP I a total of 98% of last year’s interviews has been realized, for the SHP II 96% and for the SHP III 85%. As usual, a beta-version of wave 17 will be available by the end of May 2016. We thank the respondents for their participation.
4th methdological workshop for SHP users
The 4th methodological workshop for SHP users will take place from 5th to 7th of July 2016 at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Professor Priscila Ferreira from the University of Minho (Portugal), director of the Applied Microeconomics Research Unit (NIMA) and deputy director of the department of economics will give a course on survival analysis with SHP data. On 4th of July 2016 the SHP team will give a general introduction to the Swiss Household Panel data and present exercises on writing syntaxes, data merging and the construction of specific files such as long or partner files. For more information click here.
Overview article on the Swiss Household Panel
The SHP-Team has published an article entitled “The Swiss Household Panel study: observing social change since 1999″. It describes the SHP in terms of its study’s origins, the general design, sampling and follow-up procedures. Information is also given on the survey topics, modules, participation rates as well as weighting and data imputation. As shown in the graph on the left, the areas of interest of the SHP-users are very diverse.
Relatives’ support buffers strain from parenthood
A new FORS Working Paper based on SHP data of 2016 has been released. In their paper entitled “Does it take a village to raise a child? The buffering effect of relationships with relatives for parental satisfaction”, Małgorzata Mikucka and Ester Rizzi Show that support from relatives is a resource for parents having two or more children and that it improves the experience of parenthood even in relatively wealthy societies like Switzerland. The article is available online here.
New data available: release of wave 16
The 16th wave of the SHP data is now available. Check out the SHP_I data for the years 1999 through 2014, the SHP_II data for the years 2004 through 2014, the SHP interviewer data for the years 2000, and 2003 to 2014 as well as additional data such as imputed income data and new variables. In addition, there are the new SHP LIVES – Vaud data and LIVES Cohort data for the year 2013. We strongly recommend that all users, also those who analyze previous waves, download the newest 2015 release as we constantly improve the quality of our data.
What affects attitudes towards immigrants?
With the help of the SHP data, Bram Lancee and Oriane Sarrasin question the liberalization effect of education on attitudes towards immigrants. This thesis stipulated that education fosters egalitarian values and analytical skills, which should then translate into positive attitudes. However, their publication “Educated Preferences or Selection Effects? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Educational Attainment on Attitudes Towards Immigrants” suggests that differences in attitudes towards immigrants are not significantly influences by education. This, in turn, questions the liberalization effect of education and urges for more research on the determinants of attitudes towards immigrants. The full article can be downloaded here.
Do natural disasters change public opinion?
Partly based on the SHP-data, Jan Goebel, Christian Krekel, Tim Tiefenbach and Nicolas R. Ziebarth released a new publication about “How Natural Disasters Can Affect Environmental Concerns, Risk Aversion, and Even Politics: Evidence from Fukushima and Three European Countries.” Their research shows that natural disasters may increase environmental concern, risk aversion in terms of a reassessment of risks of domestic reactors and a rise of political of Green parties even in unaffected and distant countries. However, how these changes in concerns and risk tolerance translate into changes in actual behavior is a field of future research. The full article can be downloaded here.
Young adults know how to deal with money
In their new publication based on SHP-data, “Les conséquences financières du départ du foyer parental. Une analyse longitudinale des données du Panel suisse de ménages”, Boris Wernli and Caroline Henchoz depart from the observation that in Switzerland, residential independence under the age of 30 usually results in a decrease of the income at disposal. Nevertheless, both financial management capability and satisfaction with the financial situation remain stable. These results are explained in terms of the effects of context, temporality, “linked lives,” and individual capacities to apply an order of priorities on economic acts. The full article is available here.
Men only do flexible and voluntary activities at home
The majority of homework is still done by women. While this overall finding is frustrating but not new, Daniela Schempp, Sebastian Schief and Aylin Wagner bone this result with regard to different housework activities. Based on the SHP, their publication “Determinants of Detraditionalization of the Division of Housework and Family Work in Swiss Couple Households”, draws two major conclusions. First, research has to differentiate between inflexible and unavoidable activities – like housework and child care in case of illness – and flexible and voluntary activities like playing with children. Women are especially affected by the inadequate support from the partner when it comes to unavoidable tasks. To find out more about gender inequalities at home, the full article is available here.
Health inequalities diminish as people age
A new publication on SHP data was recently published in the journal of “Sociology of Health and Illness.” Stéphane Cullati’s article “Socioeconomic inequalities in health trajectories in Switzerland: are trajectories diverging as people age?” carries out a test of the cumulative advantage/disadvantage (CAD) hypothesis which puts forward that health trajectories are diverging across socioeconomic positions as people age. He finds little evidence to support the CAD model implying that health inequalities in Switzerland are less important than those in other developed countries. The full article can be downloaded here.