Bryan Caplan  

Coping Classes

PRINT
David Cutler and Health Care... De Soto Interviewed...

Unhappy? My advice is to focus on your work. It helps you forget your woes, and once your life has improved, you've got something to show for your time of troubles. A fascinating passage from Robert Lane's The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies concurs:

What do people do when faced with adversity?... [T]he actual incidence of social stressors did not differ much by social class... but... coping strategies differed greatly. Whereas the middle- and upper-class strategies were often to plunge into work, a strategy that had a therapeutic effect on some sources of misery, the working-class strategies more often employed expressive acts like drinking and aggression, acts which only made matters worse. Thus, the relation between money and well-being is mediated by the superior coping strategies of those with more education and more money.

P.S. Lane's claim is quite consistent with the thesis of my paper with Scott Beaulier, "Behavioral Economics and Perverse Effects of the Welfare State."


Comments and Sharing





TRACKBACKS (3 to date)
TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/215
The author at Catallarchy in a related article titled What's Wrong With Welfare writes:
    Bryan Caplan and Scott Beaulier have written a paper attempting to answer the paradox of one of the traditional conservative criticisms of the welfare state, et al. The common charge that welfare and affirmative action hurt the very people it is inte... [Tracked on March 15, 2005 6:00 AM]
COMMENTS (2 to date)
Jon writes:

This article, like most others, cites anecdotal claims about the harms of welfare programs, but presents no evidence that people have been made worse off by welfare.

When someone wants to add a new programs, conservatives argue the poor are better off than ever; when someone wants to remove a program, they argue that they have been made worse off.

cameron writes:

I'm curious about how the work enviroment differing between working class vs middle/upper class.

If working class tends to be factory and service jobs, i'm not sure you can really work at your job more to help cope with lifes issues. The main reason being that you have a set work schedual, with a set amount of hours, this isn't a easy thing to change on the fly.

In a middle/upper-class job, you the worker tend to set more of your own schedual. So if you are having problems, its easy to stay later, work weekends, or any other time you want.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top