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Is a Temporary Job Better than Unemployment?: A Cross-Country Comparison Based on British, German, and Swiss Panel Data


  • Michael Gebel


While many previous studies on temporary work have found disadvantages for temporary workers as compared to workers with a permanent contract, this study compares temporary work to the alternative of unemployment. Specifically, this paper investigates the potential integrative power of taking up a temporary job for unemployed workers as compared to the counterfactual situation of remaining unemployed and searching for another job. Applying a dynamic propensity-score matching approach based on British, (West and East) German, and Swiss panel data during the period of 1991-2009, it is shown that taking up a temporary job increases the employment chances during the subsequent five years in (West and East) Germany and the UK. Moreover, the chances of having a permanent contract remain higher and a persistent wage premium can be found during the subsequent five years of the career. Advantages of taking up a temporary job are slightly stronger in West Germany compared to East Germany, where temporary contracts are often based on public job creation measures with limited integration potential. Neither long-run advantages nor disadvantages of taking up a temporary job can be found in the case of the flexible Swiss labour market.

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  • Michael Gebel, 2013. "Is a Temporary Job Better than Unemployment?: A Cross-Country Comparison Based on British, German, and Swiss Panel Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 543, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp543

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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