Tracing the Interface Between Numerical Flexibility and Income Security for European Youth during the Economic Crisis

Janine Leschke, Mairéad Finn

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    This paper traces convergences in terms of flexibility and security with a focus on younger and older youth in European countries. Youth were one of the groups hardest hit by the economic crisis. Young people in most European countries are more likely to work on temporary contracts of limited duration than adults. In a majority of EU countries youth are also disadvantaged with regard to unemployment benefits. Eligibility criteria require a certain minimum period in employment before unemployment insurance benefits can be accessed; and means-testing applies to unemployment and social assistance benefit schemes. This paper adopts a comparative European approach in order to shed light on the interaction between flexibility and income security, for youth. Special extracts of the aggregate European Labour Force Survey data are used to trace the development of (involuntary) temporary employment among youth and access by youth to unemployment benefits as well as participation in short-time working. This is complemented by an institutional analysis charting changes in unemployment benefit criteria during the crisis. To frame this analysis, we employ a more dynamic version of the flexicurity matrix (Wilthagen and Tros 2004). The paper analyses trade-offs, vicious and virtuous relationships between external and internal numerical flexibility as well as income security (Leschke, Schmid, Griga 2007; Schmid 2009) among youth and thereby tackles a combination of dimensions of flexibility and security so far underexplored. This allows us to assess if developments during the economic crisis have improved or rather deteriorated the situation of youth with regard to different dimension of flexibility and security.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBrighton
    PublisherSTYLE. University of Brighton
    Number of pages35
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    SeriesSTYLE Working Papers
    Number WP10.a

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