Stream 16

Young People, Welfare Systems and Labour Markets in Crisis: Continuity or Change

Stream convenors:
It is widely accepted that the recent economic crisis has exacerbated the already fragile position of young people in and outside the labour market. The causes and the solutions for youth unemployment and unstable trajectories are contested. To investigate whether recent welfare and labour market policies have brought new solutions to youth unemployment and precarious labour market outcomes, the stream develops around three topics.

Firstly, although widely claimed, the labour market integration of young people in terms of job quality has rarely been assessed across time. Evaluating inequality and polarization in job quality including wages and growing instability particularly for those with multiple disadvantages will help understand the long-term effects of labour market insecurity on a wide range of individual and social outcomes, such as individual agency.
Second, an increased attention towards the young NEETs has triggered policy answers which promote the combination of services targeting multiple and heterogeneous needs. Yet, along with integrated policies, a bunch of ‘business as usual’ interventions have mushroomed across Europe, including focussing on employment protection legislation and tighter welfare benefits conditionality. Contributions to this topic are invited to critically assess the innovative aspects of these policies and their expected outcomes.
Third, social distress among youth as an outcome of the economic crisis have challenged traditional forms of representation and stimulated new forms of social and civic participation in several European countries. How have the role, influence and negotiation power of young people as political and social actors changed? How does this challenge more traditional forms of participation, such as trade union membership? And has this led to new approaches to youth unemployment and inactivity?
For each topic, we are interested in comparative qualitative case studies and quantitative research, preferably from a longitudinal perspective. We also encourage innovative theoretical contributions.

⟨ List of Stream Themes