Balancing Flexibility and Security in Europe: The Impact on Young Peoples’ Insecurity and Subjective Well - being

Helen Russell, Janine Leschke, Mark Smith

    Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review

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    This paper examines the relationship between so-called “flexicurity” systems and outcomes on insecurity and well-being for young people (15-34 years) in Europe during the great recession. A key tenet of this approach is that greater flexibility of labour supply is underpinned by a welfare system providing income support for the unemployed and active labour market policies that ease transitions back to employment. In principle increased employability reduces the costs of job movement for individuals, so that longer-term employment stability is traded for short-term job instability. However, there is a risk that young people tend to experience greater job insecurity – objectively and subjectively – without the benefit of income security or employment security. We focus on objective and subjective insecurity and well-being drawing on data from the work, family and well-being modules in rounds 2 (2004) and 5 (2010) of the European Social Survey (ESS). The study asks how flexibility, security and welfare state configurations interact to influence overall levels of objective security (for example fixed-term contracts, unemployment), subjective job and employment security (employability) among various groups of young people. Secondly, using multi-level models, we test if flexibility-security arrangements as captured by institutions such as financial supports for unemployed youth, Active Labour Market Policy (ALMP) spending, access to training and the regulation of employment moderate the effect of unemployment and insecurity on the well-being of young people.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBrighton
    PublisherSTYLE. University of Brighton
    Number of pages46
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    SeriesSTYLE Working Papers


    • Wellbeing
    • Insecurity
    • Flexibility

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