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Place et sens du travail en Europe: une singularité française?

  • Lucie Davoine

    ()

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé)

  • Dominique Méda

    ()

    (CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé)

International and European data shows the singularity of the French people's relation to work. More than other Europeans, the French people declare that work is very important in their life, and, in the mean time, that they wish to see the importance of work diminishing in the society. How can we explain this paradox? Understanding the diversity of work values in Europe and, in particular the peculiar situation of France is the main objective of this article. The originality of this work relies in particular in the comparison of the results from different international and national surveys that have been little disseminated or scattered separately. In a first section, we disentangle the many meanings of work importance. Two hypotheses can explain the French situation: on the one hand, high unemployment rate and a strong feeling of job insecurity makes work an essential concern. On the other hand, French people distinguish themselves by higher expectations regarding the intrinsic interest of work and the possibility of self-fulfilling through work. The second section suggests hypotheses to explain why French wish to see the importance of work diminishing in the society. This whish is partly the results of the dysfunctions of French labour market and work organisations: bad social relations, dissatisfaction with working and employment conditions. This whish also reveals a more positive desire of spending more time with family and reconciling work and personal life. Besides, more than others, the French people declare that they suffer from tensions between the different spheres of life. Throughout the article, we emphasized not only differences between countries, but also the differences inside countries, according to the family status and the occupation.

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Date of creation: 29 May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00276220
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