This research proposal outlines measures to be undertaken in exploring the unintended consequences of unemployment. The researcher wishes to advance the assumption that unemployment is inevitably linked to serious economic and social dysfunctions occurring within the confines of Social Structure. Many of these irregularities are obvious, but others are rather insidious and concealed. Together they define the unintended consequences of unemployment. Unintended consequences of unemployment from the perspective of this researcher embodies a conceptual framework explaining all psychosocial factors, medical elements and subsequent descriptive emergent variables that adequately represent a sequel of events for which unemployment is inevitably the underlying force. It is hoped that this research would enable social planners to address realistically the dilemma facing this phenomenon.
The world has been overwhelmed by more unpredictable economic circumstances recently, perhaps best evidenced by global financial crises (Barry, 2005). As such, when economies cycle among booms, recessions and even outright depressions; unemployment both of resources, especially, capital, remains a factor that many people as well as governments must contend with.
There are difficulties about defining the problem with precision, and even more so, theoretical debates persist about the causes, effects, possible solutions or even the desirability of the phenomenon (e.g. as a safety valve to fight inflation). In order to project scientific speculations of the problem and its effects, it is instructive to have an understanding of the different types of unemployment and their respective causes (Barro, 2008).
Unemployment is broadly categorized into involuntary and voluntary. Involuntary arises from the wider economic and political adjustments or failures of the system to provide appropriately for the working class population. These include wide ranging infringements in market demand, structure of the factor and commodity markets, along with stringent government policies (Cavanagh & Mander, 2006).
Voluntary unemployment arises form the individual‘s decisions to remain without employment. More specifically, there are five different categorizations of unemployment. These are frictional, structural, cyclical, classical and seasonal, which definitely cross the barriers of involuntary and voluntary respectively. (McConnel, 1999).
Frictional unemployment is often temporary arising from a mismatch in the supply of jobs with the available skills qualifications of the unemployed. This denotes the period when individuals are between jobs, seeking new jobs, more education or skills. As such, this form of unemployment pattern always exits in the economy since people continually move between regions, change their attitudes, preferences or skills. Structural unemployment refers to the changes in the structure in the economy, resulting in the failure of the market to avail suitable jobs for all the level of skills on the labour market. (McConnel, 1999).
While it is hardly separable from frictional unemployment, structural unemployment lasts longer and is largely unresponsive to short term government interventions. (McConnel, 1999). In addition, structural unemployment largely stems from occupational and geographical immobility the labour force, coupled with changes in technology which necessitate retraining or cut back the level of man power required.
Classical unemployment, alternatively referred to as real wage/disequilibrium unemployment results from a decline in labour demand due to “above equilibrium” level of wages and hostile trade union activities that results in increased labour supply coupled with increased adoption of technology (Kim & Sheen, 2000). Cyclical unemployment on the other hand emerges from a decline in the commodity markets which ultimately lead to a fall in production and equally receding demands for a particular labour of skills. These are noticed during recessions. Seasonal unemployment occurs when seasonal jobs peak off.
Under the supervision of Calvin Street, the program Director for Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC) employment readiness program located in Anne Arundel County - with offices in Annapolis and Glen Burnie Maryland. the research will conduct a case study honing in on the organizations employment placement and retention for the community.
It was agreed that I would work 8 hour days beginning this past Tuesday. Currently I am assisting on the JWA Project (Job Works -Arundel) working with the Lead Employment Facilitators (LEFs) and the facilitation of the weekly employment readiness workshops. In addition to working with the (LEFs) on the JWA Project I'm included on the Job Developers (JDs) team as well with a focus on developing and cultivate a solid, mutually beneficial working relationship who serve as the primary point persons in each office with responsibilities for skill-appropriate curriculum development, class scheduling, with the business community at large.
Unintended consequences of unemployment from the perspective of this researcher embodies a conceptual framework explaining all psychosocial factors, medical elements and subsequent descriptive emergent variables that adequately represent a sequel of events for which unemployment is inevitably the underlying force.
To scrutinize Anne Arundel country social services in relation to this study it was discovered that embodied in its structure is the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. This organization is integral to employment placement and retention n the community. These services extend from July 1st 2011 through to June 30th 2013. (“Scope of Services,” 2011)
Their goals include ‘effectively identifying and mitigating barriers to employment; enabling customers to participate in employment-focused activities leading to employment; placement of customers in full-time employment with at least 15% reaching family-sustaining wages of $10.00 an hour or more; subsequently offering assistance by eliminating barriers to successful job retention; and where appropriate or possible; provide ongoing employment mentoring and couching.’ (“Scope of Services,” 2011).
In addition Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation a very supportive environment for is customers who are taught how ‘to prepare; to attain and retain employment. They are nurtured into supportive services (i.e. work experience, training, mental health referrals etc.) necessary to assist the head of household customer in overcoming.’ (“Scope of Services,” 2011).
“As a necessity the Corporation make services available to adult family members and certain minors not attending school to obtain and retain gainful employment that leads to employment and independence besides providing appropriate consultation and support to customers while they aggressively seek employment and work toward their goal of self-sufficiency. Importantly, customers are afforded employment retention support services that will help them stay employed or elevate to greater earnings.” (“Scope of Services,” )
Statement of the Problem
Unemployment presents growing challenges both to the government, social services as well as the affected individuals’ and their immediate families. This is further worsened by the depth of contemporary economic problems, along with the relatively slow rates of recovery. Precisely social planners predict from research that there are magnificent financial impositions on the Federal State Unemployment Insurance Agencies as well as other social services (Trading Economics, 2010).
Generous benefits for the unemployed make unemployment attractive to some members of the wider society. Indeed it stimulates more people to choose remaining unemployed. These social and insurance agencies have been faced with increasing costs to the extent of bankruptcy. For over a decade these costs apparently found their way to every working American’s pay check detected through increases in Federal and State taxes, reduced state benefits as well as repayment of government debts. During recessions, governments are neither able to raise taxes nor cut the unemployment benefits, which puts the insurance agencies and social services in a difficult position. (Eley, 2009)
This research seeks to answer the question; what are the unintended consequences of unemployment experienced by individuals and institutions alike. Precisely, who are most affected? Undesirable consequences are used in this study to describe negative, indirect, unintended, unexpected effects and side effects. In responding to these pertinent concerns approaches will be explored. (Cavanagh & Mander, 2006).
What causes unemployment?
What are the types of unemployment found in the society?
What are the long -term effects of unemployment?
What are the direct consequences of unemployment?
What are the indirect results of unemployment?
Rationale of the Study
However, the unintended consequences of unemployment are the most harmful to society, but seldom researched because people do not discuss them openly. This study is expected to close this widening gap by revealing the hidden consequences of unemployment.
Significance of the Study
This study is intended to investigate the unintended consequences of unemployment through case study evaluations of customers of Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. Importantly, speculations are that in a number of instances some clients exploit the opportunity of state benefits instead of upholding integrity of being able to attend school; obtain the necessary qualifications to work and simply run to the job market for employment. In addition, these research findings hopefully will alert financial planners to new avenues to be targeted in resolving this social menace. Solutions to the financing problems facing unemployment insurance agencies are imperative in establishing the best policies to remove incentives for dependency on the system (McConnel, 1999).
The law of unintended consequences is the theoretical concept embraced in this descriptive quantitative analysis of unemployment and its effects on social structure. Specific theoretical assumptions pertaining to this law were developed by renowned American sociologist, Robert K. Merton. Merton posited that there are three types of unintended or unanticipated outcomes. They can be positive, which means beneficial, negative being detrimental and pervasive, which are contrary effects that were never intended to be a part of the outcome. (Norton 2008).
Scope and limitations
As was emphasized in the Conceptual Framework this paper focuses on the law of unintended consequences to help capture the expected consequences of unemployment, as well as the unexpected effects this social phenomenon. The study is limited by the possibility of bias or false responses from the affected parties, along with an over reliance on the literature reviews, especially, when evaluated from a paradigm of reality inclusive of the psychological impacts of unemployment in the society. Most likely these factors can render existent literature irrelevant.
Expected Learner’s Outcomes
-To obtain a deeper understanding of the nature, causes and types of unemployment
-To understand the direct causes of unemployment
- To establish realities relating long-term effects of unemployment by exploring currently available literature, despite present constraints
-To gain a deeper understanding of the indirect consequences of unemployment
It is the researcher’s intention to explore a variety of literature containing previous studies, which can validate or invalidate the hypothesis that unemployment is inevitably linked to serious economic and social dysfunctions occurring within the confines of social structure. The presumption being that many of these irregularities are obvious, but others are rather insidious or concealed. Together they define the unintended consequences of unemployment.
Certainly, it was discovered that the unintended consequences of unemployment are seldom researched because people do not discuss them. Significantly, it is hoped that this literature review would provide enough evidence from previous studies for detection of discrete variables when the law of unintended consequences is applied being the confirmed conceptual framework within which, all literature would be examined during this study.
It is not impossible to disagree that unemployment is costly. Individuals; their respective families as well as the entire economy is called to share the burden. (Barro, 2008). No doubt it reflects phenomenal socio-economic implications. The consensus is that state entities must seek to alleviate the suffering of unemployed people by offering unemployment benefits as well as enabling environments for social services to serve them. Importantly, these services have had other effects.
At this point there is no substantial empirical evidence to prove this assumption true or false since data is limited. However, in Won Lee’s Study on “The role of state unemployment compensation programs as an automatic stabilizer at the state level,’ he confirmed that “many economists believe that UI programs are important automatic stabilizers. Several previous studies show that unemployment benefits quickly increase during business downswings. (Won Lee, 1993).
Presumably, massive costs on social welfare programs can become inevitable and pierce into the economy. Despite, ambitious efforts by state entities to curb unemployment through training and education studies reveal that voluntary unemployment becomes an overwhelming issue. A Danish unemployment study conducted by Soren Winter disclosed that vocational guidance among youths inadequately prepared them for the world of work. It has been proven during a Denmark experiment on unemployed young adults that it was difficult to keep youngsters on educational programs, which offered sustainable employment since unemployment insurance and social benefits paid far more than state grants for educational purposes. (Winter)
In this case the facts are eminent that unemployment in itself is an imposed dysfunction in some societies being subsidiaries of inefficient educational and human resource development institutions. This proposition is worth noting as the unintended consequences are unfolded. Regardless, it seems to be a cost to society either financially or socially.
Therefore, the psychology of unemployment is vital to unwrapping its unintended consequences. Dr Leahy, President, the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy; explained that unemployment is a very difficult thing ‘to cope with, and certainly, those are realities unfortunately for millions of Americans. There are some things that we can do things about and there are some things we can't do things about. But if we focus on how you change the way you look at it, what you do, how you communicate, clarifying and prioritizing your values, becoming part of the community, helping other people, you don't have to wait six months to do those things. You can start doing some of those things today’ (Leahy, 2009).
However simplistic it may appear from a psychological perspective further studies reveal that “unemployment and psychological well-being have an inverse relationship, unemployment being correlated with decreased psychological well-being. Decreased psychological well-being included increased anxiety, increased symptoms of depression and decreased self-esteem.” (“ Unemployment and psychological,” 2008)
More importantly, Dr Fryer a visiting psychologist from Sterling University in Scotland reiterated these assumptions to declare that it is a major achievement for recent research to have had the opportunity of emphatically verifying that unemployment creates poor psychological health. This is irrespective of time, cultures, research groups and research methods used. Profound conclusions are that unemployment is associated with poor mental health. To a great advantage he emphasized that the most impressive contemporary input has been made by researchers using quantitative psychological methods. . (“Unemployment a mental,” 1995).
Further he added that conditions such as anxiety, depression, dissatisfaction with life’s achievements; poor self-esteem: and hopelessness as it relates to the future along with many other negative emotional states have been shown through cross-sectional studies to be higher in unemployed people than in matched groups of the employment. (“Unemployment a mental,” 1995).
There is no doubt then that besides a huge welfare bill to cushion unemployment funding, the byproduct of increased cost for mental health services is a real matter of concern. Then the question can be posited as it relates to the consequences of unemployment, ‘how effective is health care reform in the presence of escalating unemployment figures in America? (Sloman & Garret, 2010).
No doubt when an in-depth analysis of the economic impact of unemployment is assessed people do suffer immensely. (Sloman & Garret, 2010). Sloman and Garret argue that deadweight losses of resources invested in developing a nation’s human capital and labour are incurred. (Sloman & Garret, 2010). Precisely, the proposition is that when knowledge and skills go unused during technological changes, they become relatively obsolete, necessitating retraining. Thus the government and society tend to inherit a deficit. (Sloman & Garret, 2010).
Wesbury’s analysis of America’s extension of unemployment benefits in June, 2010 for a further 26 weeks declares it a catastrophic intervention. Already he has figures to prove where the unemployment rate has since risen from 5.5% to 6.5% between June and October, 2010. The added burden of government dipping into Federal Reserve to fund this venture is indicative of the long tern implications unemployment would have on the economy. Extending his ambition of becoming the next president Brian Wesbury’s cautions, “Before Obama acts; he should consider all the implications.” (“Wesbury”, 2008).
Assumptions are that the natural solution to the growing problem is undoubtedly designing insurance benefits that will serve only their purpose of cushioning the unemployed for the short term and avoid encouraging them to remaining unemployed. The “99’ers” partially serves this purpose.
However, the solution is far from this easy. Some states e.g. Maryland, offer career centres that provide excellent quality training programs and offer job seekers assistance in finding employment, as well as disincentives for those who are voluntarily unemployed to continue being unemployed. Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation is a classic example of how the unintended consequences of unemployed could be prevented as well as addressed if there are prevailing circumstances.
A natural sequel to unemployment benefits is that after the specific period is over people plunge into serious financial difficulties with no alternative source of survival. Further social impacts ensue. They either turn to crime, illegal prostitution, and depression or file bankruptcy, which deposit more social ills to society
Comprehensive changes to the structure of the labour market are advocated to help alleviate the problem, if first; the dysfunction has been well researched and adequately evaluated. (Sloman & Garret, 2010). It is noted that people who seek employment after they have been rendered bankrupt by exhausting their 99’ers face rigorous background credit checks by their respective employers. Here their chances of retuning clean to the job market is greatly compromised
The Obama administration ought to be applauded for their attempts in addressing this dysfunction through legislation that will bar employers from engaging into such discrimination. Yet still, in reality there are no police standing guard at employers’ offices and it is left to them to uphold integrity of the law. The finance industry particularly, holds prospective employees accountable for poor background credit checks. Certainly, there is a visible exclusion of this category of candidates from seeking re-entry into that industry. Hence, the proposition is advanced that this may be another unintended consequence of unemployment.
Conclusively, any attempt to legislate re-employment protocol falls at the mercy of American employers who form a huge private sector entity. Their power to undermine such legislation is underestimated by policy makers. The ability in finding loopholes in the laws to continue discrimination is unbelievable (Trading Economics, 2010).
In many instances structured inequality strategies adopted within social organizations can allow the frustration of unemployment to extend beyond its intended boundaries. Compassion towards people desirous of legitimately re-entering the world of work is often absent from employers’ profile. Insidiously this phenomenon can be assessed as being another unintended consequence of unemployment even though there is no empirical measurement defining it as such.
Wesbury’s complete evaluation of the present unemployment culture pervading America at this time clearly reveals that employment in 2010-2011 is not the same as in previous recession era. One remarkable observation is that in the midst of extended unemployment benefits period the number of people seeking to return to work has increased.
In summarizing this law of unintended economic consequences it was discovered that the incentive under Obama’s administration for the extension of unemployment benefits is that the person must be actively seeking to be employed. Therefore, every unemployed person who wants to continue receiving benefits buys into the fad of going out seeking employment under pretence. Here again a fallacy as it pertains to the unintended consequences of unemployment.
“ The Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC) is expected to delivers an employment readiness, placement and retention program, designed for the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services (AACoDSS) for the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013. This scope of work describes the proposed strategies that will be applied to achieve job placement and retention for Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), Food Supplement (FS) benefits applicants and recipients, and Foster Care Youth who generally have difficulty sustaining meaningful employment move from dependency to permanent full-time unsubsidized employment.” (“Scope of Services,” 2011).
Social Science Research Methodology
It is always imperative that the best research techniques be selected for any study. This researcher is aware that there is no better methodology than the other among disciplines, but rather the most appropriate based on the hypothesis, assumptions; research questions; propositions as well as the nature of the study itself.
The reality of any research lies in the researcher’s ability to apply the correct criterion in deciding on a methodology. Whippie Sargent and Associates posited that there are two criteria any researcher can use, which are accurate in selecting the most appropriate research discipline and methodology. (Sargent, 2011).
They advise researchers to first use ‘the information requirement to select an appropriate research discipline and then use the properties of the population within the study in defining the most appropriate methodology.’ (Sargent, 2011).
Consequently, in this study of ‘unemployment and its unintended consequences’ the research discipline inevitably falls into the category of social science. Hence, social science research methodology would be adapted to conduct in this case study.
Parameters of this Study
The research purpose is inevitably linked to the rationale that unemployment has diverse consequences to the economy and severe impacts on the lives of individuals. (“Steffen,”). There have been no studies conducted concerning the unintended consequences of unemployment, which can be rather detrimental to society and the economy. (“Unemployment a mental,” 1995).
Therefore, it is hoped that this case study at Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation could uncover the hidden consequences of unemployment bringing together scientific explanations for this dysfunction in society and subsequent knowledge for sociologists, politicians and planners alike. Certainly, huge burdens on the welfare state; created by unemployed populations and immediate families have been of great concern with regard to the economy. (“Steffen”)
As such, this researcher would undertake Qualitative techniques (Kousser, 1980) whereby results can be scientifically processed in relation to the data gathered. (Goldthorpe, 1997). Precisely, this section of the research document would explain the research a method and techniques to be undertaken and justification for them.
The specificities of the research design would be explored offering a sound rationale for its use; reasons for the population targeted and sample selection techniques would be carefully scrutinized; opinions for selecting qualitative as against quantitative approaches (Goldthorpe,
1997) to interpretation of data will be clarified; specific instruments utilized will be validated through the establishment of internal/ external validity and reliability pretested measurements. (Kousser, 1980)
The specific population indicative of this research pertains to customers accessing services at Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. It is justifiable because the study seeks to discover the unintended causes of unemployment. In distinguishing the boundaries it would be understood that only persons eligible for services at this location will be targeted for sampling. The population must referred by Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation to be considered eligible.
With these parameters available as insights the researcher chooses to sample the unemployed population as case studies which access services from the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Anne Arundel County in conducting a qualitative analysis of unemployment and its unintended consequences.
This researcher subsequently submits that there is reliability in selection of the population and sample since it can be proven that the variables ‘unemployment’ and ‘unintended consequences’ are measurable within the sample selected being representative of the desired population to be investigated.
Data Collection Techniques
There are a number of data collection techniques accessible to each researcher. These include document study, Observation, Interviewing and the administering of questionnaires. It is within the researcher’s reach to choose anyone based on proficiency in the application of each, as well as its adequacy in arriving at convincing conclusions.
In this explanatory study design, taking into account the data collection techniques available, the qualitative research technique will be adapted whereby customers of the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation will be involved as case study subjects providing evidence to determine the extent to which the questions pertaining to causes; types, long term effects; direct and indirect consequences of unemployment could be answered and the hypothesis validated.
The researcher’s intention is to test the variables unemployment, unintended consequences, results, direct consequences, long -term effects, types and causes. In order to provide research findings that are valid it is important that the procedure maintains an acceptable scientific methodology. (‘Steps of the”)
In social science, particularly, where responses can be easily influenced by the researcher, there is a high incidence whereby studies have been invalidated due to elements of bias emanating from procedures and sampling techniques. Many popular survey studies have been targets of such accusations in the contemporary research culture.
It is hoped that this researcher stands free of such unprofessional practices as procedures for conducting this research are organized with transparency. (Isaac, 1971). This researcher realizes that understanding biases is imperative to any successful research. Therefore, in designing the procedure care is taken to assess all factors which relate to the exposure of participants in administration of the instrument.
Instrumentation and Qualitative Case Study Methodology
The instrument of choice for this qualitative evaluation is the interviewing questionnaire. In choosing a qualitative approach to this investigation the researcher realizes that qualitative research is focused on understanding. It answers the question “how’ unlike quantitative methods, which seek to interpret data based on statistical evaluations. (Mamia).
Pamela Baxter writing about ‘Qualitative Case Study: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers’ advised on four criteria for selecting this method. First the focus of study must be on answering ‘how” and “why” research questions; secondly the researcher must be aware that behaviour of participants cannot be manipulated during the study; thirdly it is important to evaluate contextual conditions since they maybe relevant to the research and fourthly the boundaries must be clear between the phenomenon and the context.( Baxter,2006). This case study has established boundaries between the phenomenon, unintended consequences of unemployment within the context of
Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. They have been clearly defined to engage this case study approach.
More importantly, adopting a qualitative design allows the researcher to describe social phenomena verbally. Scientifically, it is considered complementary and not contradictory. (Mamia). In this exposition of the unintended consequences of unemployment it is the researcher’s conviction that by adopting such a methodology it would offer more scope of generality to the project itself.
One of the greatest advantages of this methodology is that while guiding the research away from complicated statistical displays of data, it distinctively argues the hypothesis profoundly through the use of descriptive language, which can influence understanding.
This refers both to how well a study was conducted (research design, operational definitions used, how variables were measured, what was/wasn't measured, etc.), and how confidently the researcher can conclude that the observed effect(s) were produced solely by the independent variable and not extraneous ones. Precisely, internal validity refers only to the accuracy/quality of the study. (“Internal and external,”)
This represents the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized or applied to other people or settings. (“Internal and external,”).
Appropriateness of data analysis techniques
As was mentioned earlier the decision to analyze data using qualitative instead of quantitative measurements has numerous advantages and disadvantages. However, this researcher wishes to highlight the greater advantage of verbal description of a phenomenon, which is expected to ignite the attention of social planners with a greater measure of simplicity. More so with special case study applications internal and external validity errors are less likely.
The preceding pages of this chapter outlined the specific methodology (“research process”) which should be applied when researching the phenomenon unemployment and its unintended consequences. Sampling techniques were justified based on a population the researcher wishes to focus. Randomized sampling techniques were discussed to acquire a representative portion from the population under review. (Kousser, 1980)
Data collection techniques were advanced to ensure consistency with the model of scientific research, precisely, to eliminate biases from this study. The researcher’s aim is to avoid validity and reliability errors. Therefore, criteria for pretesting and control were fully discussed and justified. (MacCoun, 1998).
A qualitative case study was enforced at this level of the research as the goal of understanding the phenomenon from a grass root perspective grassroots is being forged. Complicated data display and analysis is believed would thwart efforts of understanding at this level.
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