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Occupational status and life satisfaction in the UK: The miserable middle?

Georgellis, Yannis, Clark, Andrew E., Apergis, Emmanouil, Robinson, Catherine (2022) Occupational status and life satisfaction in the UK: The miserable middle? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 204 . pp. 509-527. ISSN 0167-2681. (doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2022.10.045) (KAR id:97972)


We use British panel data to explore the link between occupational status and life satisfaction. We find puzzling evidence for men of a U-shaped relationship in cross-section data: employees in medium-status occupations report lower life satisfaction scores than those of employees in either low- or high-status occupations. This puzzle disappears in panel data: the satisfaction of any man rises as he moves up the status ladder. The culprit seems to be immobility: the miserable middle is caused by men who have always been in medium-status occupations. There is overall little evidence of a link between occupational status and life satisfaction for women, although this relationship for higher-educated women does look more like that for men.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.10.045
Uncontrolled keywords: Occupational status, Life satisfaction, Occupational mobility
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: EUR-Oceans Consortium (
Depositing User: Yannis Georgellis
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2022 10:47 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:19 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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