Labor market flexibility and poverty dynamics
The past two decades have witnessed a rapid growth in flexible work arrangements that, in some instances, could expose workers to a higher poverty risk via limited job stability, few advancement opportunities, and low wages. Nowhere in the world has this increase in flexible work arrangements being more evident than in Spain, where about a third of the wage and salary workforce holds fixed-term contracts. Using Spanish panel data and maximum-likelihood binary models that account for state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity, we examine the poverty implications of past and present temporary employment. Our findings suggest that fixed-term contracts are linked to a greater poverty exposure among women and older men relative to open-ended contracts. Furthermore, this greater poverty exposure can last several years due to feedback effects operating via job instability or via the transition to work statuses characterized by higher poverty hazards. Finally, the adverse impact of temporary employment is linked to the short duration of some contracts, thus signaling the importance of work attachment.
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