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Social contacts, neighborhoods and individual unemployment risk

Ambra Poggi (Universita degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 19 February 2024




The aim of this paper is to empirically investigate whether social contacts can mediate the way in which current unemployment impacts future unemployment.


We use 2006–2017 data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and a dynamic random-effects model to describe the evolution of individual unemployment status over time.


Once controlled for the local context where individuals live and create friendships, we find that above-average social contacts reduce unemployment persistence. However, social contacts seem to be slightly less effective in deprived neighborhoods. These findings are consistent with the idea that individuals obtain information about job opportunities through a network of social contacts, and unemployment may lead to a decay of social capital, making it more difficult to find employment in future periods. Our results also show that neighborhood deprivation increases individual unemployment risk, while above-average neighborhood cohesion reduces the probability of unemployment in deprived neighborhoods.


Although many studies have been published on unemployment persistence, to the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first study quantifying the impact of social contacts on unemployment persistence. The study also offers fresh empirical evidence on the impact of neighborhood characteristics on unemployment risk.



Poggi, A. (2024), "Social contacts, neighborhoods and individual unemployment risk", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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