Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    The dynamics of income poverty in Australia: Evidence from the First Three Waves of the HILDA Survey
    HEADEY, BW ; MARKS, G ; WOODEN, MP (Australia Council of Social Service, 2005)
    This paper reports an analysis of income poverty dynamics in Australia using longitudinal data from the first three waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. As in other developed countries, far fewer people are found to be living in persistent poverty than are poor on an annual basis. With a poverty threshold set at 50 per cent of median equivalised income, just over four per cent of Australians were measured as being in income poverty in all three waves. Among those who were poor during 2000‐01, about half subsequently had incomes above the 50 per cent threshold. However, the longer people remained in poverty, the less likely they were to exit, the greater was their risk of re‐entering poverty, and the lower were their incomes if they temporarily escaped poverty.
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    Life satisfaction and the economic and social characteristics of neighbourhoods
    Shields, MA ; Price, SW ; Wooden, M (SPRINGER, 2009-04)
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    Working Time Mismatch and Subjective Well-being
    Wooden, M ; Warren, D ; Drago, R (WILEY, 2009-03)
    Abstract This study uses nationally representative panel survey data for Australia to identify the role played by mismatches between hours actually worked and working time preferences in contributing to reported levels of job and life satisfaction. Three main conclusions emerge. First, it is not the number of hours worked that matters for subjective well‐being, but working time mismatch. Second, overemployment is a more serious problem than is underemployment. Third, while the magnitude of the impact of overemployment may seem small in absolute terms, relative to other variables, such as disability, the effect is quite large.
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    Long Work Hours: Volunteers and Conscripts
    Drago, R ; Wooden, M ; Black, D (WILEY, 2009-09)
    Abstract Using panel survey data from Australia, we divide long hours workers (persons reporting usually working 50 or more hours per week) into groups of ‘volunteers’, who prefer long hours, and ‘conscripts’, who do not. We study both the static and dynamic prevalence of the phenomenon. Norms surrounding ideal workers and consumerism play major roles in explaining conscript status, with bargaining power less important. The self‐employed often appear as volunteers or conscripts, while gender, rather than motherhood, is a strong predictor of shorter work hours. Both the demand and supply sides of the labour market play a role in explaining the prevalence of long hours conscripts.
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    Paid Annua Leave and Working Hours: Evidence from the HILDA Survey
    Wooden, M ; Warren, D (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2008-09)
    Using data from wave 5 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this study examines: (1) the extent to which Australian employees use their annual leave entitlements; and (2) the association between annual leave taking and weekly hours of work. After restricting attention to employees likely to have entitlement to at least 4 weeks of paid annual leave, it is found that the mean number of days of leave taken per year is around 16 and that the majority of employees (63%) take less than 20. The incidence of annual leave taking is found to vary positively with the number of usual weekly hours of work, but the size of this effect is small and weak.
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    Overskilling, Job Insecurity, and Career Mobility
    McGuinness, S ; Wooden, M (WILEY, 2009-04)
    This paper uses longitudinal data from Australia to examine the extent to which overskilling—the extent to which work‐related skills and abilities are utilized in current employment—is a transitory phenomenon. The results suggest that while overskilled workers are much more likely to want to quit their current job, they are also relatively unconfident of finding an improved job match. Furthermore, some of the greater mobility observed among overskilled workers is due to involuntary job separations, and even where job separations are voluntary, the majority of moves do not result in improved skills matches.
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    Household wealth in Australia: its components, distribution and correlates
    MARKS, G ; HEADEY, BW ; WOODEN, MP (Sage Publications, 2005)
    Using data from the second wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, conducted in 2002, this article provides information on the composition, distribution and correlates of the wealth holdings of Australian households. The survey results indicate that Australian households have an average net worth (or wealth) of just over A$400,000, comprising assets of $473,000 and debts of $68,000. The largest component of wealth is home equity. The degree of inequality across households in wealth inequality is found to be much larger than the inequality in income and varies substantially with age and, to a lesser extent, with household type and education. Age, socio-economic background, educational attainment, marital status and the number of children can account for about 30 percent of the variation across households in (logged) wealth.
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    The effects of household joblessness on mental health
    Scutella, R ; Wooden, M (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2008-07)
    It is widely assumed that the economic and social costs that unemployment gives rise to must be exacerbated where joblessness is concentrated within families. This hypothesis is tested in this paper. Specifically, data from the first five waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), a nationally representative household panel survey administered in Australia, are used to test whether jobless individuals score worse on a measure of mental health when they live in households with other jobless people. Consistent with previous research, unemployment is found to be associated with lower levels of mental health. No evidence, however, can be found for any additional disadvantage to the unemployed stemming from living in a jobless household.