Business Professor: Recession Graduates Happier

Dec. 11, 2013

Emily BianchiAccording to recently published research by Emily Bianchi, assistant professor of organization and management, well-educated college graduates who earned their degrees in a recession are more satisfied with their jobs.

The findings appear in her paper “The Bright Side of Bad Times: The Affective Advantages of Entering the Workforce in a Recession,” published in the most recent issue of Administrative Science Quarterly.

Bianchi analyzed data from two large government-run surveys that have been active since the 1970s, and a third cross-sectional study. She found that they showed that people who earned their degrees during economic downturns were more satisfied with their current jobs than those who first looked for work during more prosperous economic times. In the paper, she concluded that “while past research on job satisfaction has focused largely on situational and dispositional antecedents, these results suggest that early workforce conditions also can have lasting implications for how people affectively evaluate their jobs.”

An article about the study on the Emory News Center website stated that the findings are surprising given the well-documented negative financial aspects of graduating in a recession. Recession graduates earn less money and often hold less prestigious jobs. Bianchi argues that this conclusion is consistent with recent research in psychology that reveals that some adversity is associated with greater happiness than either too much or too little. “Too much adversity can be emotionally debilitating,” Bianchi said. “Too little can weaken resilience, allowing people to magnify and exaggerate the bumps of everyday life.”

Yahoo News also picked up the story.  

Latest News

What's New Archive