Changes in job stability and its impact on the “quality” of the working life: an analysis by generation

Delphine Remillon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Carole Bonnet, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Benoît Rapoport, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Whether job instability has increased has been widely debated in developped countries since the 1990s. There is a strong belief of a major turning of occupational trajectories to greater instability compared to the post World War period. However whether it is a real increase in job instability is yet unclear, as many studies don’t find any significant rising trend of instability. This partly comes from the lack of long-term data on past careers. Research on job mobility are thus often based on the examination of changes in the distribution of elapsed duration of ongoing jobs, use retrospective questions or study cross-sectional job changes. Moreover, scope is often limited to job mobility of male workers inside the private sector. In addition, previous research gives little information on the “quality” of the job mobility. Mobility may indeed be positive when it leads to a better match between the firm and the worker. We use French data (EIC2005) from the pension contribution records matched with administrative data on wages and unemployment. They have several advantages over datasets generally used in research on mobility: they avoid recall errors problems; individuals are followed throughout their career from the 1950’s; they allow to identify all the transitions, including to self-employment, public sector or unemployment; wages are precisely measured, which allows to assess the quality of trajectories; they include male and female workers. We describe the evolution of the instability in France by comparing the different cohorts, specially by assessing the prevalence of positive and negative transitions; by examining the evolution of intragenerational inequalities; by comparing male and female careers. Next, we assess the impact of mobility on the quality of trajectories, by measuring the effects of transitions on wages and pension rights.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 57: Desirable and undesirable consequences of mobility