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Starting Well or Losing their Way?: The Position of Youth in the Labour Market in OECD Countries


  • Glenda Quintini
  • Sébastien Martin


Despite the fact that today’s young cohorts are smaller in number and better educated than their older counterparts, high youth unemployment remains a serious problem in many OECD countries. This reflects a variety of factors, including the relatively high proportion of young people leaving school without a basic educational qualification, the fact that skills acquired in initial education are not always well adapted to labour market requirements, as well as general labour market conditions and problems in the functioning of labour markets. The paper highlights the trends in youth labour market performance over the past decade using a wide range of indicators. It also presents new evidence on i) the length of transitions from school to work; ii) the wages, working conditions and stability of jobs performed by youth; and iii) the degree of so-called “over-education”, i.e. the gap between the skills of young people and the jobs they get. Même si les cohortes des jeunes d’aujourd’hui sont moins nombreuses et mieux éduquées que leurs aînés, le taux de chômage élevé des jeunes demeure un sérieux problème dans beaucoup de pays de l'OCDE. Ceci tient à un ensemble de facteurs, comme la proportion relativement élevée de jeunes sortant de l'école sans qualification élémentaire, le fait que les qualifications acquises dans l'éducation initiale ne sont pas toujours bien adaptées aux exigences du marché du travail, tout comme les conditions générales et les problèmes de fonctionnement des marchés du travail. Ce papier met en lumière les tendances de la performance du marché du travail des jeunes au cours de la dernière décennie en utilisant une large variété d’indicateurs. Il présente aussi de nouveaux éléments sur i) la durée des transitions de l'école à l'emploi ; ii) les salaires, les conditions de travail et la stabilité des emplois des jeunes; et iii) le degré de « surqualification », c.-à-d. la différence entre les qualifications des jeunes et les emplois qu’ils occupent.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenda Quintini & Sébastien Martin, 2006. "Starting Well or Losing their Way?: The Position of Youth in the Labour Market in OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 39, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:39-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miles Corak & Christine Lietz & Holly Sutherland, 2005. "The Impact of Tax and Transfer Systems on Children in the European Union," Papers inwopa05/30, Innocenti Working Papers.
    2. Virginia Hernanz & Franck Malherbet & Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries: A Review of the Evidence," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 17, OECD Publishing.
    3. Gottschalk, Peter & Smeeding, Timothy M., 2000. "Empirical evidence on income inequality in industrialized countries," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 261-307 Elsevier.
    4. Sutherland, Holly, 2001. "EUROMOD: an integrated European benefit-tax model: final report," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. von Weizsacker, Robert K., 1996. "Distributive implications of an aging society," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 729-746, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruggero Cefalo & Vittorio Sergi & Nicola Giannelli, 2015. ""We are not NEET": How categories frame (mis)understanding and impede solutions," Working Papers 1508, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2015.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00621 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Biagi, Federico & Lucifora, Claudio, 2008. "Demographic and education effects on unemployment in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 1076-1101, October.
    4. Olga Demidova & Marcello Signorelli, 2010. "The Impact of Crises on Youth Unemployment of Russian Regions: An Empirical Analysis," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 78/2010, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    5. Sarah Brown & Gaia Garino & Christopher Martin, 2007. "Labour Turnover and Firm Performance," Working Papers 2007012, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2007.
    6. Niall O'Higgins & Marcello D'Amato & Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Adriana Barone, 2007. "Gone for Good? Determinants of School Dropout in Southern Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(2), pages 207-246, July.
    7. Giovanni S.F. Bruno & Floro E. Caroleo & Orietta Dessy, 2013. "Stepping stones versus dead end jobs: exits from temporary contracts in Italy after the 2003 reform," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 121(1), pages 31-62.
    8. Lapatinas, Athanasios, 2009. "Labour adjustment costs: Estimation of a dynamic discrete choice model using panel data for Greek manufacturing firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 521-533, October.
    9. Antón, José-Ignacio & Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael, 2011. "The impact of the minimum wage on Spanish youth: Evidence from a natural experiment," MPRA Paper 33488, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Cunningham, Wendy & Salvagno, Javier Bustos, 2011. "Youth employment transitions in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5521, The World Bank.
    11. Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus & O'Connell, Philip J., 2011. "Transitions to Long-Term Unemployment Risk Among Young People: Evidence from Ireland," Papers WP394, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    12. Pia Peeters & Wendy Cunningham & Gayatri Acharya & Arvil Van Adams, 2009. "Youth Employment in Sierra Leone : Sustainable Livelihood Opportunities in a Post-conflict Setting," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2599.
    13. World Bank, 2008. "Kosovo - Youth in Jeopardy : Being Young, Unemployed, and Poor in Kosovo," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7895, The World Bank.
    14. Addabbo, Tindara & Rodríguez-Modroño, Paula & Gálvez-Muñoz, Lina, 2015. "Young people living as couples: How women's labour supply is adapting to the crisis. Spain as a case study," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 27-42.
    15. Brown, Sarah & Garino, Gaia & Martin, Christopher, 2009. "Firm performance and labour turnover: Evidence from the 2004 workplace employee relations survey," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 689-695, May.
    16. Driouchi, Ahmed & Harkat, Tahar, 2017. "Counting the NEETs for Countries with no or less Data, Using Information on Unemployment of Youth Aged 15-24: The Case of Arab Countries," MPRA Paper 79330, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Gina Cristina Dimian & Bogdan Ileanu & Josef Jablonský & Jan Fábry, 2013. "Analysis of European Labour Market in the Crisis Context," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(1), pages 50-71.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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