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Precarious Employment, Education and Gender: A comparison of Germany and the United Kingdom


  • Anna Kim
  • Karin Kurz


During the last decades most industrialised countries have experienced a massive educational expansion. Corresponding to this development there has been an increase of female employment which is, however, to a large extent part-time. At the same time, the attempts of firms to achieve more employment flexibility - facilitated by government intervention to deregulate the labor market - has contributed to the growth of precarious jobs, such as, fixed-term, (certain types of) part-time jobs and self-employment. This has been true in particular for the United Kingdom.In this paper we examine the relationships between the growth of precarious employment, the general educational expansion and gender in Germany and the United Kingdom. Our first question is to what extent education shields from insecure employment. The empirical analysis focuses on effects of both general and vocational education and compares these effects between countries. Based on national differences in the educational systems, we expect a relatively smaller influence of education on the likelihood of precarious employment in the UK where the educational system is less restrictive - that is, less rigidly stratified - than in Germany. Second, we try to better understand the link between gender and precarious employment by looking at its embeddedness within the national institutional arrangements. We expect that the economic interests of firms to create precarious jobs are more or less closely linked to the national gender regimes. Given the stronger emphasis on the male-breadwinner model we expect that the female bias in precarious employment is relatively stronger in Germany than in the United Kingdom. Data from the German Microcensus (1982, 1996) and the British Labor Force Survey (1984, 1996) are used for the empirical analyses

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Kim & Karin Kurz, 2001. "Precarious Employment, Education and Gender: A comparison of Germany and the United Kingdom," MZES Working Papers 39, MZES.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:mzesxx:p0016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angela Dale & Claire Bamford, 1988. "Temporary Workers: Cause for Concern or Complacency?," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 2(2), pages 191-209, June.
    2. Hildegard Brauns & Markus Gangl & Stefani Scherer, 1999. "Education and Unemployment: Patterns of Labour Market Entry in France, the United Kingdom and Germany," MZES Working Papers 6, MZES.
    3. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union Decline in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 631-645, December.
    4. Henning Lohmann, 2001. "Self-employed or employee, full-time or part-time? Gender differences in the determinants and conditions for self-employment in Europe and the US," MZES Working Papers 38, MZES.
    5. Gallie, Duncan & White, Michael & Cheng, Yuan & Tomlinson, Mark, 1998. "Restructuring the Employment Relationship," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294412.
    6. Henning Lohmann & Silvia Luber & Walter Müller, 1999. "Who is Self-Employed in France, the United Kingdom and West Germany? Patterns of Male Non-Agricultural Self-Employment," MZES Working Papers 11, MZES.
    7. Casey, Bernard, 1988. "The Extent and Nature of Temporary Employment in Britain," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 487-509, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Kim;Ki-Wan Kim, 2003. "Returns to Tertiary Education in Germany and the UK: Effects of Fields of Study and Gender," MZES Working Papers 62, MZES.
    2. Martin Olsthoorn, 2014. "Measuring Precarious Employment: A Proposal for Two Indicators of Precarious Employment Based on Set-Theory and Tested with Dutch Labor Market-Data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 421-441, October.

    More about this item


    employment policy; gender policy; Germany; globalization; industrial policy; industrial relations; institutions; liberalization; regulations; regulatory politics; sociology; U.K.; welfare state;

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